The Winnipeg Jets have made two final moves in advance of the 2021-22 regular season opener from Anaheim, California Wednesday evening. The team sent defenceman Ville Heinola down to its American Hockey League affiliate Manitoba Moose before signing forward Evgeny Svechnikov to a one-year contract.
Heinola, 20, is currently in the third year of his entry-level contract, which allows him to move freely between the NHL and minors, without the need to pass through Waivers. That serves as the sole reason why he was Winnipeg’s final defence cut, as all other healthy blueliners left on the roster would need to pass through Waivers in order to make it to Manitoba.
Svechnikov, 24, agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way deal, also meaning he can move up and down within the Jets and its farm club this season. Originally signing a professional tryout in advance of training camp, Svechnikov went out and earned a place on the opening night roster following some hard work in his five exhibition games.
The former first round pick (19th overall in 2015) skated in 21 games for the Detroit Red Wings last season, putting up three goals, eight points and 10 penalty minutes. He impressed head coach Paul Maurice in camp with four points in the preseason, to which he signed his name on a one-year, $750K contract. If Svechnikov spends the year in the AHL, his salary will drop to $215K.
Later in the day, Winnipeg announced that forward CJ Suess had also been sent to Manitoba. Having spent the majority of the preseason injured, Suess has since recovered from his ailment and needed to be sent back to the Moose in order to get the Jets back under the salary cap before puck drop.
With top line centreman Mark Scheifele serving out the final game of his four-game ban from last postseason, youngster Cole Perfetti will make his NHL debut Wednesday night alongside potentially just 10 other forwards. With Svechnikov unable to travel to Anaheim until officially under contract, the team is without its 12th forward, unless Svechnikov can be flown to California in time for puck drop.
Projected opening night lineup: