Not on the block
If in doubt, Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele will not be available before the close.
While TSN hockey insider Pierre LeBrun notes that there has been “white noise” surrounding Scheifele’s future with the team, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff confirmed he has no plans to treat the 28-year-old.
“Look, we’re obviously in a Canadian market, we’re in a situation where we’ve had a year of ups and downs, and certainly we’re in a time when everyone wants to make a splash on the internet ‘ Cheveldayoff told LeBrun on The Athletic. “It’s not shocking that these rumors or these made-up stories are coming out. But I’ve long tried to get top-two centermen like we have now with Scheif and (Pierre-Luc) Dubois. It’s a really difficult combination when we can play well against them.
“Again, I love having that kind of depth in the organization,” added the Jets GM. “Mark is an exceptional player in this league and we are delighted to have him on this team.”
Scheifele, who has 20 goals and 45 points in 49 games this season, is signed with the Jets for the 2023-24 season with a $6.125 million cap hit.
With eight games remaining before March 21, the Jets are six points off the last wildcard spot after Friday’s loss to the Dallas Stars.
LeBrun believes the Jets will wait as long as possible before making any decisions regarding the deadline. Cheveldayoff, who reiterated he believes the team could have a deep-run playoff run should it make it through the postseason, said he doesn’t feel any pressure to be a salesman.
“We’re comfortable with this group,” said Cheveldayoff. “If we hit the deadline… do I have to trade players for draft picks or something? No, I don’t have to.”
The Jets have three unrestricted free agents outstanding Andrew Copp, Paul Stastny and Nathan Beaulieu. Cheveldayoff acknowledged that when the team signed a one-year, $3.64 million deal last summer, they knew the 27-year-old could turn out to be “own hire” before reaching free agency.
Copp, who returned from missing time this week with a concussion, has 13 goals and 31 points in 49 games this season.