WASHINGTON - Kevin Cheveldayoff had conversations with his counterparts around the National Hockey League as the 2 pm CT trade deadline inched closer on Monday, but ultimately, the two moves Cheveldayoff had made over the past week were all the tweaks he made to the roster.
"We had some conversations with some teams. Generally they were more around the potential of a hockey trade of some sort, involving player for player or different situations like that," said Cheveldayoff. "We did some due diligence. Close on anything? I don't know if I'd say if there was anything close or not, but maybe some conversations that could pick up at a different point in time."
The additions of defenceman Dylan DeMelo and forward Cody Eakin were as much about what those players could add to the group, as they were about rewarding the roster of players that have fought all season to stay in the Western Conference playoff race.
"I'm real proud of this group for the fight they've put up and the fight they've stayed in," said Cheveldayoff. "We went into this understanding that there is no quick fixes. There is no immediate cure here. We have to continue to fight and we believe the players we've added will help us in that fight."
Over 20 deals were made across the NHL on Monday. In the past two seasons, the Jets were heavily involved on deadline day - acquiring Paul Stastny in 2018, as well as Kevin Hayes, Nathan Beaulieu, Par Lindholm, and Bogdan Kiselevich in 2019 - but Cheveldayoff said the "appetite" wasn't quite the same in 2020.
"This year the appetite was to do the two moves we did and go into today, knowing that we made those moves and understanding what the other fits might be, we were comfortable with where we're at," he said. "You have to find the thing that fits, you have to have the currency, and you have to have the appetite. Those three things have to align."
Cheveldayoff said he didn't feel as though cap space hindered him in any way as he negotiated with other general managers.
He also reported that he received some clarity from Dustin Byfuglien two weeks ago regarding his playing status for the season.
"Dustin made the decision not to play this year," said Cheveldayoff. "That essentially squashed anything that might happen for someone to maybe put him in their line-up at some point this year. We can still trade him at any point in time with respect to the future as well. It's still a work in progress."
Returning from injury is also a work in progress for Adam Lowry and Mathieu Perreault, who hope to return as soon as possible to help in the playoff push. Lowry was injured just over six weeks ago in Chicago, while Perreault hasn't played since January 31 against the Boston Bruins - a span of 12 games.
"You're a little bit hamstrung when you have the injuries that we do with respect to doing hockey deals," said Cheveldayoff. "You have a couple players who could be a week to two weeks away. Those, you look to get into your line-up sooner rather than later, those are the acquisitions you're hoping for in some respects."
With the trade deadline put to bed, Cheveldayoff now looks ahead to the final 18 games the Jets have left on the regular season schedule.
"I know they're gearing up for Washington," Cheveldayoff said. "It's not going to be an easy battle whether we're one point out of it today, or two points up on it today. We have some head-to-head games against teams that we are fighting (against), but all we're looking at and all we're going to focus on is the here and now."
Monday was also the deadline to make players eligible to play in the American Hockey League for the rest of the season.
In order to do so, the Jets made forward Logan Shaw available to the Moose prior to the 2 pm CT deadline. However, Cheveldayoff said Shaw will be immediately recalled to the Jets.