August 22, 2019

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Opinion

Time to deal yourself in, Chevy

Better to trade for a blue-liner than to sit tight

Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeg winger Michael Frolik buries a short-handed goal past Buffalo goalie Michal Neuvirth during second-period action Tuesday night.

Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press Winnipeg winger Michael Frolik buries a short-handed goal past Buffalo goalie Michal Neuvirth during second-period action Tuesday night.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/12/2014 (1709 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

One thing we know about Kevin Cheveldayoff is he's deliberate and won't bend on his principles. How that plays out over the next little stretch will have a major impact on the Winnipeg Jets and their hopes of being a playoff team this season.

Cheveldayoff is working to acquire a defenceman to patch up his tattered blue-line. But he's playing with only the money in his jeans and history tells us he won't be making a trip to the ATM to juice up his offering.

On Tuesday, the Jets GM was looking to turn one of his passel of fourth-liners into a third-pairing D-man. At the time of this writing, a trade hadn't been reached.

Making no deal is better than making a bad deal. If the price is too high, Cheveldayoff is likely best to sit this one out and see if his team can ride through the rough patch and remain in the playoff hunt.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/12/2014 (1709 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

One thing we know about Kevin Cheveldayoff is he's deliberate and won't bend on his principles. How that plays out over the next little stretch will have a major impact on the Winnipeg Jets and their hopes of being a playoff team this season.

Cheveldayoff is working to acquire a defenceman to patch up his tattered blue-line. But he's playing with only the money in his jeans and history tells us he won't be making a trip to the ATM to juice up his offering.

On Tuesday, the Jets GM was looking to turn one of his passel of fourth-liners into a third-pairing D-man. At the time of this writing, a trade hadn't been reached.

Making no deal is better than making a bad deal. If the price is too high, Cheveldayoff is likely best to sit this one out and see if his team can ride through the rough patch and remain in the playoff hunt.

If Tuesday's 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres was an indication of things to come, Cheveldayoff might do well to resist the urge to swap.

But what if Tuesday was an example of a team playing on adrenaline against a club in the bottom third of the league? What if tough times do indeed arrive?

It is management's job to watch players and evaluate their worth and effectiveness, but right now it's the Jets players waiting to see how their GM performs in a crucial moment of their season.

The Jets are now down three of their top defencemen; Toby Enstrom, Zach Bogosian and Jacob Trouba.

Cheveldayoff has proven effective in the patience game, but this may be the time for him to be more forceful.

The Jets need help on the blue-line and short of finding an out-of-work free agent, it will fall to Cheveldayoff to manufacture a trade. No one should expect a blockbuster, or for Winnipeg to overpay.

Market value

Giving more than fair market value would be foolish and this team hasn't shown it's worthy of the GM paying a heavy price to get them over the top.

There is, however, something to be said for rewarding these players for what they've accomplished to date this season.

This group has done all coach Paul Maurice has asked of them. They've adopted a defence-first style and they've played for one another.

Now they need some help. They need a booster shot only Cheveldayoff can deliver.

Cheveldayoff has quite rightly been judicious when it comes to sending an asset out of Winnipeg, always looking to make sure he gets full value.

The result has been very little action on the trade front during his tenure, but instead a restocking of the organization's depth. Depth that can be used in a situation like this to keep the team afloat.

Cheveldayoff will have to determine if his roster is long enough on experienced talent or if he needs to go outside the organization.

The Jets are saying all the right things about picking one another up and filling the holes in the roster with capable players. But the reality is no team in the NHL can sustain this kind of a hit for long.

Take Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and your pick of a third defender out of the Chicago Blackhawks' lineup and watch what happens. In fact, go around the league and pull three regulars off any blue-line in the league and the results will be predictable: Losses.

Enstrom and Bogosian are said to be returning sometime in January. Trouba won't be available until February at the earliest.

Maybe the Jets will be able to push, pull and drag themselves through the next month and remain in the hunt. But it's a tall order.

Cheveldayoff has to consider the future when weighing his options, but he also has to think about the players he has in his room right now.

If he sits this one out and things go south, players will wonder what could have been. Then again, maybe he shows some faith in the group and they pull through the adversity.

There's no guarantee any kind of deal made right now would provide helpful solutions.

The bottom line is the Jets and Cheveldayoff are in a tough spot. The choices aren't easy and they're magnified by the fact his team is in a playoff hunt.

All-in isn't an option. But it's hard to win if you don't place a bet now and again.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

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