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Jets trim roster by three

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The hacking and slashing, shaping and forming of the Winnipeg Jets roster continued Sunday with three more trimmed from the lineup.

The Jets announced they have released winger Janne Pesonen while assigning defenceman Paul Postma and left winger Jason Gregoire to the St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL.

And on another note, contract talks with first-round draft choice Mark Scheifele are said to be progressing.

"When you get down to smaller numbers, the decisions are dealt with more and more scrutiny," Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said Sunday. "We’re looking at where players fit and how they fit and, in some cases on tryout guys, if they fit.

"It’s been a great evaluation process for the two kids we’re sending to St. John’s and I told them both this morning when I spoke to them, this is really the start, not the ending. This shouldn’t be looked at negatively, it should be looked at positively as the start of them on their way to coming back here.

"They both made great impressions and are going to be a big part of the Winnipeg Jets' future."

Jets head coach Claude Noel praised Pesonen’s game on Saturday, but the Finnish product - who played seven games with the Pittsburgh Penguins three years ago and spent the last two seasons in the KHL - is 29 and was pushed out of work by younger wingers in the organization.

Gregoire, the Winnipeg product, joined the Jets this summer after originally being drafted by the New York Islanders and spending three years at the University of North Dakota. He appeared in three pre-season games with the Jets, picking up one assist.

The demotion of Postma may be seen by some as a bit of a surprise - he finished second in scoring for the Jets during the pre-season to Mark Scheifele, with two goals and three assists in four games. But with the Jets deep in the defence corps and Postma on a two-way contract, it made the decision to send him to St. John’s easier. Listed ahead of him on Winnipeg’s defensive depth chart are Tobias Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, Zach Bogosian, Mark Stuart, Johnny Oduya, Ron Hainsey, Randy Jones and Derek Meech, who can also play on the wing.

"He’s certainly knocking at the door," Cheveldayoff said of Postma. "But lots of people knock at the door; you’ve got to push it down. In our situation here, we've got seven guys on one-way contracts (Byfuglien, Enstrom, Stuart, Oduya, Bogosian, Hainsey and Jones) and that comes into play a little bit.

"He’s shown us he’s progressed nicely. It’s a process, and this is the next step in the process for him."

All NHL teams must declare a 23-man roster, not including injured players, by Tuesday, and the Jets currently have three players on the mend: Eric Fehr, Aaron Gagnon and Kenndal McArdle.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 1:39 PM CDT: Details added

2:50 PM: Quotations added

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