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ANALYSIS: Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff proving critics wrong

As the pre-holiday schedule draws toward a conclusion for the Winnipeg Jets this week, the team is certainly proving they’re a competitive group. One of reasons for that is their architect, who probably hasn’t received the accolades he’s owed.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was a polarizing figure among Canadian hockey fans last spring. The divide was clear: either you were on board with his job performance through the years or you weren’t.

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For those who felt he was underperforming in his role – and of course, those voices were the loudest – Cheveldayoff became the social media piñata on all platforms. He was a single target of frustration for everything that ailed the franchise — even the pandemic.

It was an unfair period for the only GM Winnipeg has ever employed, but also the type of criticism that certainly comes with the territory, especially in a Canadian market, when you haven’t reached the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

But just over six months later with the Jets challenging for first place in their division, multiple star players extended to long-term contracts, and key acquisitions via a series of shrewd trades, the Cheveldayoff detractors have become conspicuously silent.

Understanding the schedule is only one-third complete for the Jets and the team was in a similar situation last year, only to struggle mid-winter, what Cheveldayoff has delivered again this season is another competitive and entertaining team.

It’s a squad that is well on pace for yet another playoff berth under his administration, and — leading up to Monday’s game against Montreal — was trending toward a second 50-win season.

For all the negativity hurled at Cheveldayoff last year, and up until the masterpiece of a multi-player deal with the Los Angeles Kings in the off-season – which, by the way might, just turn into a fleecing for Winnipeg — he carried on, proving once again that he is an excellent hockey mind, skillful at his job with a keen eye for the business of the game.

The results of his team to date are once again tangibly proving his career, while at the same time forcing the mute button on his critics — especially those that were the loudest last spring.

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