For most of his tenure with the Winnipeg Jets, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has been fairly passive when it comes to making trades. Even his recent Evander Kane blockbuster only happened after an alleged incident with Dustin Byfuglien.
So while the Jets’ decision to acquire forward Jiri Tlusty from Carolina on Wednesday in exchange for a third-round pick and conditional sixth rounder might be just the kind of move you would expect from a team in the hunt for a playoff spot, it is particularly noteworthy given Cheveldayoff’s history.
Cheveldayoff doesn’t want to put too much pressure on Tlusty, but he did view this as more than just a means to fill a void left by Mathieu Perreault’s significant lower-body injury.
“It is a message to the room that we’re all-in, here,” Cheveldayoff said.
The question now is if Cheveldayoff will chose to emphasize that message further by pulling the trigger on anything else. Getting Tlusty certainly helps, but the Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild have bolstered their rosters as well and that’s likely just the beginning for the Jets’ rivals as we still have five days of trading left.
With a 31-20-11 record, the Jets have a four-point edge over the Minnesota Wild in the battle for a playoff spot. That being said, Winnipeg has also played in two more games.
Jiri Tlusty has been traded to Winnipeg, with a third-round pick in 2016 and either a fifth- or sixth-round pick in 2015 going back to Carolina. (If the Jets make the playoffs, it’s a fifth-round pick. If not, sixth.)
Tlusty, 26, has 13 goals and 10 assists in 52 games for the Hurricanes this season. A pending unrestricted free agent, he fully expected he could be dealt prior to Monday’s deadline.
In Winnipeg, Tlusty figures to be a second- or third-line winger. With Mathieu Perreault out, his addition could allow Dustin Byfuglien to return to defense.
Looks like Kevin Cheveldayoff might soon be back at the trade table.
Just one week after orchestrating the Evander Kane blockbuster, the Jets GM could be forced to make more moves after Wednesday’s news that forward Mathieu Perreault would likely be done for the remainder of the regular season with a “significant” lower-body injury, while Drew Stafford — who came over in the Kane deal — is day-to-day.
The Perreault loss is big. He sits third on the team in goals, with 18, gets time on the first-unit power play and averages 16:38 TOI per game. The 27-year-old also seemed on his way to surpassing his career high in points — 43, set last year in Anaheim — and provided center depth for a Jets team that’s not overly strong down the middle, and now boasts Brian Little and 21-year-old Mark Scheifele as its top-two centers.
Stafford, meanwhile, got derailed before ever really getting started.
The longtime Sabre was hurt in just his third game as a Jet, and his loss is significant as well. Between Stafford, Perreault and Kane, the Jets have lost depth and goalscoring ability at forward and will now be forced to return Dustin Byfuglien to the wing, even though the All-Star defenseman has repeatedly expressed his desire to stick on the blueline.
(Byfuglien’s move to forward will coincide with the length of time Stafford is out, per multiple reports.)
In a related move, the Jets have called up Carl Klingberg from AHL St. John’s. The Swedish winger has 10 games of NHL experience under his belt, but has yet to make his season debut.
It’s been a breakthrough season for Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault … at least when his body isn’t breaking down.
The Jets managed a 5-4 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, but it came at a cost, as Perreault and newly acquired forward Drew Stafford suffered injuries. Perreault’s seems to be lower-body related while Stafford deals with an upper-body ailment, the Winnipeg Sun reports.
“There’s not much you can do. We’ve dealt with it throughout the whole year and we’ve got enough guys that can jump up in the lineup and fill roles,” Andrew Ladd said. “Hopefully, those guys aren’t out too long.”
Perreault, 27, reportedly left in a walking boot:
Updates regarding either forwards condition aren’t expected until Wednesday.
Viktor Fasth was hurt on the Oilers side in that game, so there was generally a significant physical toll to yesterday’s game.
Tonight in Nashville, Tyler Myers is expected to begin his Winnipeg Jets career on a defensive pairing with veteran puck-mover Tobias Enstrom.
Myers, traded yesterday from Buffalo, is unlikely to log the 25 or so minutes he typically did with the Sabres. That won’t be necessary with two other capable pairings in Winnipeg, Dustin Byfuglien with Ben Chiarot and Mark Stuart with Jacob Trouba.
In Buffalo, Myers skated mostly with Josh Gorges. Not only did those two play big minutes and face the toughest competition on a nightly basis, over 40 percent of the faceoffs they were on the ice for took place in the defensive zone.
That’s no formula for good offensive numbers, and Myers was proof, with just four goals and nine assists in 47 games.
Not that he hasn’t struggled in recent seasons; Myers is no pure victim of circumstance. But Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff believes the 25-year-old’s career can be rejuvenated if provided a better chance to succeed, in a role that’s not beyond his capabilities.
“Tyler’s got a tremendous foundation,” said Cheveldayoff. “He’s big. He can shoot. He’s going to have an opportunity to play with a deeper defense corps. He can log a lot of minutes.
“Sometimes, in this game, fresh starts are really welcome for players that have lots of expectations heaped on them, and lots of hype as young players. Because it is a hard game to play as a young player and even harder as a young defenseman.”
As for winger Drew Stafford, the other roster player the Jets picked up in the Evander Kane trade, he’ll start on a line with Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault, two talented forwards enjoying fine seasons.