Winnipeg Jets make several moves ahead of submitting opening day roster

4 p.m. CT Monday afternoon was the deadline for all 32 NHL teams to be compliant with the US$82.5M salary cap as well as submit their 23-player opening day rosters.

Since Friday, when the Winnipeg Jets wrapped up their preseason with a 5-3 win in Calgary, the hockey club has had players coming, going, and staying.

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It began on Saturday with the confirmation the Montreal Canadiens had put in a claim for defenceman Johnathan Kovacevic who had been placed on waivers the day before by Winnipeg after having a solid training camp and preseason.

It was always felt there would be an uncomfortable level of risk attached to exposing the 25-year-old, 6′-foot-4-inch and 208 pound right-shot defenceman, who was named top defenseman of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose for the 2021-22 season. Montreal’s decision confirmed those concerns.

On Sunday the Jets announced they were placing forward Jansen Harkins on waivers, also for the purpose of assignment to the AHL Moose. Unlike Kovacevic, Harkins went unclaimed and upon reporting to Manitoba, will be paid his $US825K base salary.

According to CapFriendly, the 25-year-old left wing/centre is scheduled to make a base salary of $US875 next season, resulting in an average annual value of $US850K.

Not finished yet, the Jets claimed Axel Jonsson-Fjallby off waivers from Washington on Monday. The 24-year-old Swedish left winger scored two goals and added as many assists in 23 games for the Capitals last season. The 6-foot-1-inch, 189-pound Stockholm native also tallied 16-18-34 in 44 games with the AHL Hershey Bears.

The addition of Jonsson-Fjallby left the Jets with 2 decisions to make to get down to the opening day roster of 23 by the Monday afternoon deadline. One of those resulted in defenceman Ville Heinola being assigned to the AHL Manitoba Moose. The 21-year-old defenceman is just in year two of his entry level contract and is waiver exempt.

The other hinges on the timing of Jonsson-Fjallby’s activation due to some working visa issues needing to be ironed out.

The Jets are not expected to make a formal announcement until Tuesday following official approval by the NHL.

 

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