Winnipeg Jets' general manager KEvin Cheveldayoff Knows Sean MOnahan will prove his worth
The Winnipeg Jets' trade for Sean Monahan has proven that the club is not alright with sitting back on its heels and allowing other competition to swoop in scoop up the top available players in advance of the NHL's trade deadline.
Moving a first round pick to Montreal means the Jets will be aggressive this postseason, and aim to be a Cup contender as the season wears on. With a few million dollars remaining on their spending budget, the Jets very well may not even be done spending quite yet.
The addition of Monahan is one of veteran leadership, says general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. It's not just his 11 years of NHL experience that came to mind, but rather his demonstrated abilities on the bench alongside some of the league's youngest developing players.
“First and foremost, we wanted to feel like it was fit with how we want to play, who we are from a character standpoint,” Cheveldayoff said on Friday following the deal.
“He’s got good size, he’s a smart player, he can play two ways, he’s responsible; he’s a true centre. He’s someone who can help elevate different players.”
One descriptor the veteran GM used was that of experienced education:
“One of the things that was really impressive about him when I was talking to the coaches, and the coaches were doing their due diligence in watching some extra film, was how he interacted with the young players,” Cheveldayoff expanded.
“You watched him in Montreal and how he’d come back to the bench and he’d be talking with Cole Caufield or he’d be talking to Slafkovsky, and you’d see that kind of mentorship, that quiet leadership on the bench. That’s exactly what you want in a pro.”
Although forced to part ways with his upcoming first round pick, Cheveldayoff did not need to send Montreal a player or prospect in his pre-deadline deal. Whether or not the trade ends up the way the acquisition for Paul Stastny did is still up in the air. Sure, Monahan will have the opportunity to re-sign in Winnipeg, but the big picture is a strong push for the Cup this year. The other side of the coin is the fallout from the Kevin Hayes deal, where the player did not fit in well and was unable to get Winnipeg past the first round.
But, according to Cheveldayoff, the potential reward highly outweighed the potential risk, so the trigger was pulled.
“When you’re in situations like this - and I’ve been on both sides of them - you grind away to not have to trade it — and you grind away to make sure you make the other team give it up,” Cheveldayoff said of dealing the first round selection. “You have to weigh the alternatives, weigh the fit. When the fit is great and you believe this is the best option for you, you have to make those tough calls.”
“We’ve got another worker to join the group and we have to continue to play the right way for us to be successful,” he added. "The message is the work is just beginning, and it’s only going to get harder.”