There were 32 deals completed on trade deadline day across the National Hockey League, but the Winnipeg Jets weren’t involved in a single one of them.
After making trades to acquire defenceman Dylan DeMelo and forward Cody Eakin in the week leading up to the deadline, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff stood pat on Monday, while a fury of trades was getting done around him.
“You don’t want to make a trade, just for the sake of making a trade,” Cheveldayoff told reporters on Monday after the deadline. “If you’re going to bring someone in — you got to make sure that, one, they’re going to get played, and they’re going to fit.”
“We had some conversations with some teams. Generally, they were more around the potential of a hockey trade of some sort involving player-for-player, different situations like that. So we’ve done some due diligence. Close on anything? I don’t know. I wouldn’t say if anything was close or not, but maybe some conversations that could pick up at a different point in time.”
Cheveldayoff took a much different approach this time around compared to the last two deadlines. The Jets sacrificed first-round draft picks in each of the last two years to bring in Kevin Hayes and Paul Stastny.
They were clearly contenders then. Now, the Jets took a much more conservative approach, just trying to get into the dance.
“The last two we took big swings,” Cheveldayoff said. “We obviously had the appetite to go after something that we thought was going to fit. You have to find the thing that fits, and you have to have currency, and you have to have the appetite. All those three things have to align. For two years in a row, we felt that. This year, the appetite was to do the two moves that we did.”
There was some speculation the Jets would try and offload suspended defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, but nothing came to fruition. Cheveldayoff said any chance of a trade involving Big Buff was scuttled when he didn’t resume skating a few weeks ago after rehab on his injured ankle progressed to the point he could go back on the ice.
“Dustin essentially made the decision not to play this year,” he said. “And that essentially kinda squashed anything that might happen for someone to maybe put them in their lineup this year. We can still trade him at any point in time with respect to the future as well. So it’s still a work in progress.”
The Jets did make a move on paper, temporarily reassigning forward Logan Shaw back to the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose. Only players on AHL rosters on Feb. 24 are eligible to play in the Calder Cup Playoffs, so the move will allow him to play in the post season if the Moose get that far. They’re currently eight points out of the final playoff spot. That means Sami Niku and Jansen Harkins, who are currently still up with the Jets, will be ineligible to play for the Moose in the playoffs.
Cheveldayoff also indicated Josh Morrissey is listed as day-to-day after missing Sunday’s game with an upper-body injury.
The Jets conclude their four-game road trip on Tuesday against the Washington Capitals.