There is an interesting dynamic at play in these days leading to the National Hockey League's annual auction of freshly scrubbed yearlings.
That is, while the rabble in 29 other markets ponder what their teams' general managers will do to tweak, revamp or rebuild their rosters, the constituents of Jets Nation wait, wonder and worry about what Kevin Cheveldayoff won't do.
There are two reasons for that:
Other than draft players and dive into the dumpsters of opposing clubs (read: use the waiver wire), he has done little to nothing to improve the makeup of the Winnipeg Jets in his first three years as puppet master.
He has never come completely clean about The Plan.
Unless I've missed something, Cheveldayoff has yet to stand before Jets Nation and advise the masses when The Plan will kick in. That is to say, he's never placed a date on when we can expect to see the local hockey heroes participating in the Stanley Cup tournament. All he's done is repeat his draft-and-develop mantra, a recitation that has become dog-eared and boring and provides no definitives.
Some in Jets Nation are of the notion that The Plan is a five-year project. Well, since the GM has done, or said, nothing to confirm that notion, then it's pure conjecture.
We have seen three trade deadlines come and go during Cheveldayoff's watch, and in each case he either took a nap or became paralyzed. We have seen three NHL Entry Drafts come and go, and he's fought off any urge to make a deal of impact involving live bodies. All he's done is pluck wannabe and never-will-be NHLers from the talent pool of kids who aren't old enough to order a round of beer in the United States.
His refusal, reluctance or inability to make a bold stroke in the trade market has earned the endorsement of his boot-licking pals in the Royal Order of the Lap Dogs (read: mainstream media), but the rank and file of fandom has become more than a tad restless.
That's why we wait, wonder and worry about what the Jets GM won't do next.
The thing is, I believe we have arrived at a juncture in the journey whereby Cheveldayoff must come clean about The Plan. When he makes the pilgrimage to Philadelphia for his fourth NHL Entry Draft next weekend, he will tell us everything we need to know about The Plan. He might not speak the words, but his (in)action will be loud, clear and concise.
Given that there has been a changing of the guard at the top of the food chain with so many clubs, it is expected that there will be an eagerness among GMs to move players like so many pieces on a chess board. It might develop into a swap shop of Biblical levels.
So I see this as Cheveldayoff's grand opportunity to finally apply his signature to the Winnipeg franchise. To make it his team, not Rick Dudley's or Don Waddell's.
Should Chevy jump into the fray and land someone like, oh, let's say Patrick Sharp, then we'll know he's thinking in terms of "let's get it done now." If, on the other hand, the Jets GM moves out live bodies for prospects and/or draft picks, then The Plan with No End will continue to be The Plan with No End. You can then put in a wakeup call for 2019 and hope the Jets will be playing springtime hockey by then.
Whatever the case, the next seven days will represent the defining moment in Kevin Cheveldayoff's three years as steward of the Jets. It is time, as they say, for him to poop or get off the pot.
So we wait, we wonder and we worry about what he won't do.