Johnston: Plenty of questions left to be answered

Winnipeg Jets general Kevin Chevelayoff, left, and Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis have some important decisions to make before the trade deadline. (CP Photo)
April 3, 2013, 1:32 AM

What do you do if you’re Kevin Cheveldayoff?

As the hours tick down to Wednesday’s trade deadline, you know you need to do something – anything – to try and pull your Winnipeg Jets out of a tailspin. But where do you turn?

The question is especially tough to answer since Cheveldayoff is notably patient and these aren’t particularly patient times in Winnipeg.

A once-strong grip on a playoff spot has been weakened considerably over the last couple weeks and the Jets dropped their fourth-straight game in Long Island on Tuesday night. To make matters worse, coach Claude Noel said his team looked “fatigued” during that important matchup.

There doesn’t appear to be any cure-all out there. If anything, the Jets management group must determine whether it is buying or selling.

There would certainly be interest in veteran defenceman Ron Hainsey if he were made available, but it remains to be seen whether that happens or not.

For Cheveldayoff, it’s all about finding the right fit long-term for his group, which is why the best move for him arguably came Tuesday night when highly-touted prospect Jacob Trouba signed an entry-level contract after deciding to leave the University of Michigan.

The promising defenceman is on his way to Winnipeg and might be the only addition of note for a Jets team trying to stay inside the playoff picture.

Here’s a quick look at the picture from the other Canadian cities in the Eastern Conference:

High-flying Habs: The Montreal Canadiens addressed their need for a depth defenceman on Tuesday by picking up Drew Drewiske from Los Angeles, but surely GM Marc Bergevin won’t stop there.

The Habs have been among the top teams in the Eastern Conference all season long and should have their eyes set on a long playoff run.

A depth forward would likely come in handy and Bergervin is believed to have kicked the tires on Ryane Clowe prior to seeing him dealt to the Rangers. That would have come with an infusion of grit, something else that should be on his shopping list after seeing Colby Armstrong limp off with a lower-body injury during Monday’s game against Carolina.

If Bergervin decides to make even more of a splash, he might look to Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville, who submitted a list of eight teams he wouldn’t accept a trade to earlier this week.

Pominville played for the Sabres in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night and isn’t guaranteed to be moved prior to the deadline, but there is certainly a feeling out there that he’s available.

How would he look in the bleu, blanc et rouge?

Big Ben: With Craig Anderson on the verge of returning to the Ottawa Senators lineup from injury, GM Bryan Murray is nearly back to having a three-headed goaltending monster.

That is no secret around the league, which is why so many teams have inquired about six-foot-seven Ben Bishop. So what should Murray do?

He is on record as saying that he’d be willing to return Robin Lehner to the American Hockey League when Anderson comes off injured reserve – a move that could happen later this week.

That would leave a tandem of Anderson and Bishop.

However, Murray may rethink that position if a team is willing to send a top-six forward his way in exchange for Bishop, who is a pending restricted free agent. In other words, it is believed he would be willing to make a true hockey deal and there don’t tend to be many of those at the deadline.

Ottawa could use a little more offensive pop down the stretch and Bishop is the most valuable commodity Murray is willing to part with.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this situation.

Leafs’ wishlist: As documented earlier in the week, the Leafs are anxious to bring in some goaltending depth.

However, their needs run deeper than that and general manager Dave Nonis is a motivated shopper with his team on the verge of its first playoff appearance in nine years.

In fact, a source told sportsnet.ca on Tuesday night that Nonis was also looking to add another defenceman and possibly some more depth at centre.

The blue-line is of particular interest. The Leafs have rotated a number of bodies in and out on their back end and could use another right-handed shot, particularly if it belongs to a reliable veteran.

Like most of his colleagues, Nonis must make an important decision: When push comes to shove, is he willing to pay the necessary price to bolster his lineup?

The clock is ticking. We’ll find out soon enough.

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