The Winnipeg Jets are being heavily criticized for their lack of action during the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline. General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff understands the frustration by some fans, but he suggests his lack of making moves was not for a lack of trying.
Cheveldayoff noted during this post-deadline media avail that he tried to do more than land defenseman Jordie Benn. It was clear the Jets needed at top-four defenseman and Benn is not that. He’s a decent depth guy and useful in the event of an injury, but he’s unlikely to move the needle for the Jets as they try to hang with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens in the North Division playoffs.
Speculation is that the Jets had their eyes on a few targets. Reports are they asked about Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and kicked the tires on Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski. Obviously, neither deal was finalized. Cheveldayoff said the Jets “tried to do a few things that might have been big swings. But the players we targeted didn’t move.” Elliotte Friedman reports in his latest 31 Thoughts column.
Friedman adds that Chevy considered at least one very big deal, and he looked into seeing if he could find out which team he might have been talking to. During his 31 Thoughts podcast, he speculated it could have been Nashville or Anaheim. Ultimately, the Jets decided they didn’t like the price and that whatever they were looking at was going to be expensive.
Are The Jets Good Enough?
The question will be now if the gap on the blue line where they could have used an extra piece is going to make the difference between playoff success and no playoff success. The Jets are loaded up front and have the reigning Vezina Trophy winner in goal. They already have a good team.
But, the Maple Leafs added, as did the Canadiens. Even the Oilers did alright to land Dmitry Kulikov, who is having a much better season than Benn. It’s also likely Winnipeg will match up with the Oilers in the first round and have the unenviable task of trying to shut down Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Time will tell if not giving up what it took to add the defenseman they needed will be the death nail for the Jets. Cheveldayoff said he just the message that he’s added a little depth to the team and that he believes in this roster that he has.
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