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Photo Credit: © Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jets Finalize Opening Day Roster

With a flurry of moves in the last few days the Winnipeg Jets have now finalized their 23 man roster to begin the season. The Jets began to slim down their roster last Friday when they sent down a number of players, most notably Sami Niku.

The Jets continued to lighten their roster over the weekend as they sent Michael Spacek to the AHL followed by Logan Stanley.

Once these two were gone, there were 25 players vying for 23 spots… well, kind of.

Although the Jets had 25 players on their roster, they only had 24 actively practicing as Nic Petan has taken a leave from the team following the passing of his father. Petan has been granted non-roster status and therefore does not actually count towards the 23 player limit although his salary still counts towards the cap hit.

With Petan being exempt from the roster limit it actually allowed the Jets to keep one more player than expected. This meant the Jets only had to make one final cut to become compliant for the start of the season which meant choosing between Tucker Poolman and Brendan Lemieux. The Jets were already carrying seven other defensemen so they elected to send Poolman down to the Moose which meant Lemieux made the team.

With the official opening day roster set, take a look at your 2018-19 Winnipeg Jets!

Notice that Petan is still listed on the roster, even though he is not currently with the team.

The interesting thing about the Jets situation is that they will have to make a decision once Petan returns to the team. The ability to make him a non-roster player made the short term decision easier for Maurice because he was able to keep an extra forward around. Unfortunately, once Petan is back, the Jets will have to make an even tougher decision of who gets sent down after the season is already underway.

The obvious dilemma is to choose between Petan and Lemieux. Dano’s pressbox role is likely safe for the season and it will be the spot beside him that is the proverbial hot seat. Many people had Petan slotted into a pressbox role for the season but if Lemieux really impresses everyone over the next week or two then it might be Petan who gets sent back to the Moose for another year.

The last thing which might factor in is the contract status. Lemieux is still waiver-exempt while Petan is not. If the Jets are looking to keep all of their assets without any risk, then it might be Lemieux who gets to play another season with the Moose.

As for Poolman, it’s a tough pill to swallow getting sent down after playing 24 games last season. The brightside for Poolman is the one-way contract that he signed this summer. This one-way deal assures that Poolman is making the same salary in the AHL as he would in the NHL which is the only good news after getting sent down.