The Winnipeg Jets find themselves in an unexpected race for a playoff spot, but the consensus amongst the HockeyCentral panel and Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star is that the Jets should stand pat because there is no pressure on them to make playoffs. They should avoid mortgaging the future by acquiring for veterans on expiring contracts in an effort to lock down a playoff spot.
While Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff told Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press on February 14 that he will not acquire rental-players, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a seller. Or a buyer.
I don’t like the terms buyer and seller. A lot of people ask me which I am. I’m always going to be trying to acquire assets. I’m always looking to make our team better for the future.
SportsNet hockey analyst John Shannon suggests that the Jets could really use a top-six forward to help with their scoring woes, and a defensive defenseman. He’s not alone when it comes to pointing out that the club needs to bolster their offense.
Jets captain Andrew Ladd told Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun back on February 15th that the club should look to bring in some firepower up front from outside the organization.
With the troubles we’ve had scoring, if it’s not going to come from within this room, we probably could use some help, there. We’ve got a great goaltender, we’ve got D that can move the puck and play both ways.
However, Cheveldayoff says he won’t make any quick-fix moves.
I’m not going to be making any moves just for the sake of making moves. And we’re always assessing.
Winnipeg has a number of pending unrestricted free agents that they could deal. The list includes Jim Slater, Tanner Glass, Kyle Wellwood, Tim Stapleton, Johnny Oduya, Randy Jones, Mark Flood and Chris Mason. Cheveldayoff confirmed that he has not held contract talks with any of them. Could any of those players be used as trade bait?
The general manager hinted that those UFAs are not the only players he has brought up in trade talks with other teams.
There are lots of things happening in parallel universes. It’s not just other teams asking about (our young players). There are a lot of things that are talked about.
Shannon believes that more importantly than what the Jets do or don’t do at the trade deadline, is what they will do to improve their roster in the off-season.
How much money will the Jets ownership actually allow Cheveldayoff to spend on players this summer? The ownership in Winnipeg is budget-conscious — they’ve said so themselves — so they’re unlikely to be big spenders.