The Winnipeg Jets sent a third-round pick to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for 26-year-old blue-liner Dylan DeMelo on Tuesday and Kevin Cheveldayoff isn’t closing the door on potentially making additional moves prior to Monday’s trade deadline.
“I’d like to think we’re going to be a little bit active here,” the Jets general manager said Wednesday during an appearance on Hockey Central at Noon.
Cheveldayoff was the busiest GM at the trade deadline one year ago, completing six deals that day. Most were minor, depth additions but they also moved Brendan Lemieux in a package to acquire Kevin Hayes in a move that confirmed their position as Cup contenders.
The team is in a much different position this season, currently fighting for a playoff spot thanks to a myriad of unforeseen injuries and roster changes.
“I feel pretty proud of the group,” Cheveldayoff said. “The way that they’ve handled all the adversity, mostly not due to their own making so to speak. … A lot of pride in the group. I think the coaching staff has done a good job of keeping everyone in the fight and that’s where we find ourselves today.”
Heading into Wednesday’s slate of games, the Jets sit one point back of the Flames and Coyotes, the teams currently occupying the two Western Conference wild-card spots. The Jets have a game in hand on Arizona and can leapfrog them with a win.
“In that dressing room, you’re always looking for hope,” Cheveldayoff added in regards to making deadline deals. “Every team’s gonna have some holes created through injury or whatever the situation is and I think as a player you want to know that you’re with them. And as a manager, you want to let them know, ‘Look, I’m not going to do something crazy here, but if I can help I’m gonna help but please keep yourself in that situation so that helping makes sense and helping matters.’
“And that’s what the guys have done. They’ve battled hard. It’s a tight group and through the adversity, they’ve grown.”
The Jets begin a four-game Eastern Conference road trip on Thursday in Ottawa against DeMelo’s former Senators teammates.