Make minor moves, including recalling Gagnon, returning Cormier to IceCaps
The Winnipeg Jets trotted out their No. 1 draft pick and grabbed a former 20-goal centre off waivers but made no trade deadline moves Wednesday.
They were reportedly talking to the Buffalo Sabres for a deal that would send Alexander Burmistrov east for right-winger Drew Stafford. But nothing happened before the deadline.
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff refused to confirm or deny that scenario but said they had to move forward with the players they have now.
“It’s one of those things where at different points in time you’re talking lots of different players with lots of different teams and different scenarios,” he said.
“This is the group that earned the opportunity to be battling at this point in time for a playoff position.”
The Jets did make an move within their organization, recalling Aaron Gagnon from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps, while returning fellow centre Patrice Cormier back to the IceCaps.
Gagnon was the AHL player of the month for March, recording 18 points in March and extending his point streak to 12 games, tied for the AHL high this season.
Cormier appeared in 10 games for Winnipeg, but saw limited ice time and didn’t record a point
Cheveldayoff made it clear before they were looking for a top-six forward and would still like one but not at any cost.
“Everything comes at a price,” he said. “You have to be realistic.”
It puts added pressure on the lineup the Jets have now to stop a four-game slide that has them clinging only barely to top spot in the Southeast Division.
Losing the division lead to the surging Washington Capitals, who are only two points back, would bump the Jets out of playoff contention, at least for now.
The Jets did claim centre Mike Santorelli, 27, off waivers from the Florida Panthers.
He was drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2004 (178th overall) and traded to Florida in 2010. In the 2010-11 season he scored a career-best 20 goals and 21 assists for the Panthers.
In 24 games this season, the Vancouver native has had only two goals and one assist and is in the final year of a contract that will pay him US$1.6 million this season.
Earlier in the day the Jets also arranged a conference call with last year’s top draft pick, defenceman Jacob Trouba. They announced on Tuesday he had decided to put his college career on hold to fulfil his dream of playing in the NHL.
The native of Rochester, Mich., was drafted by the Jets in the first round, ninth overall, in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
He was named to the 2013 Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s All-Rookie team determined by a vote of the conference’s head coaches and was also named Best Offensive defenceman in the CCHA.
Trouba also has won three medals for the United States during his career, most recently a gold at the 2013 world junior championships.
He said he doesn’t know what the Jets have in mind for him after he reports this week. Trouba said he’ll understand if the Jets feel he needs to develop a little more.
“I obviously want to play with the Jets, I want to play in the NHL, but if I need to develop more and get sent to St. John’s, that’s fine by me,” he said. “I’ll just have to keep working hard and get back up to the Jets as fast as I can.”