Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has taken heat, at times, for a perceived lack of interest in player swaps.
Every trade deadline, the bad joke might go, is a day off for Kevin.
Well, if Cheveldayoff doesn’t touch his roster in 2018, there will be a very good reason for it.
“I think they’re very confident in what they already have,” said Sportsnet’s Sean Reynolds.
Speaking to Ryan Dixon and Rory Boylen on the Tape to Tape podcast, Reynolds re-iterated the idea that Cheveldayoff — with good reason — will be in no rush to move out the young assets Winnipeg has accumulated in favour of short-term help. He thinks they could be in the market for a centre, but also noted the emergence of 21-year-old Jack Roslovic could temper that appetite.
Of course, having confidence in your group doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not in the market for upgrades. If a GM and his staff really think they have something going on, that might be just the time to pull the trigger on an over-the-top piece.
“This is a team that knows its window is opening and I’ve talked to a lot of GMs about this; when your window is open, you do everything you can to throw as many Stanley Cups through as possible,” Reynolds said. “You don’t want to be giving up years where you thought you had a chance.”
One team that openly acknowledged it won’t be winning a championship this year is the New York Rangers. In an open letter to fans, management — with carefully chosen words — acknowledged the club can’t win it all as presently constituted and may have to take a couple steps back before it can really charge forward.
The Rangers’ approach feels groundbreaking and has the potential to seriously alter the deadline landscape. While soon-to-be UFAs like Rick Nash and Michael Grabner were always known to be on the table, we’re now left wondering whether impact skaters like Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello and captain Ryan McDonagh — all of whom have contracts running beyond this season — stand a serious chance of being dealt.
“All these guys, suddenly, could be in play,” said Boylen.
If Vancouver Canucks blue-liner Erik Gudbranson is, as many believe, available via trade, Boylen wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs might swoop in and slide the veteran beside rookie revelation Travis Dermott.
“If you want to think about pairing an offensive-minded defenceman with a defensive-minded defenceman like you have with Morgan Rielly and Ron Hainsey on the top pair, Gudbranson and Dermott might go off really well,” he said.