In the process, Winnipeg has trimmed its roster down to 32 players – broken down as 18 forwards, 11 defencemen and three goaltenders. This number will slowly drop until the team is set under the salary cap ($81.5 million), while carrying a total of no more than 23 players.
With high-scoring restricted free agent forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor still holding out of camp, and with veteran defenceman continuing to contemplate his potential NHL career/retirement on a team-granted leave of absence-turned suspension, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and head coach Paul Maurice will need to craftily shape a team capable of competing night-in-and-night-out, with or without three of its stars from the recent past.
Forwards Jansen Harkins and Skyler McKenzie, defencemen Johnathan Kovacevic, Leon Gawanke and Luke Green, as well as goaltender Mikhail Berdin were immediately sent down to the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose Wednesday. Defenceman Jacob Cederholm, forwards Emile Poirier, Cole Maier and Kristian Reichel and netminder Adam Carlson have been released from their professional tryouts, and will also report to the Moose. While forwards Logan Shaw and Seth Griffith have been placed on Waivers for the purpose of being sent down.
Nine of the following players who currently remain on Winnipeg’s 32-man training camp roster are expected to be sent down prior to puck drop on opening night. That number could increase should Connor, Laine or Byfuglien return to the team:
Forwards: JC Lipon, David Gustafsson, Joona Luoto, Gabriel Bourque, CJ Suess, Michael Spacek.
Defencemen: Anthony Bitetto, Tucker Poolman, Cam Schilling, Ville Heinola, Nelson Nogier, Logan Stanley.
Goaltenders: Eric Comrie.