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Six Jets vulnerable as trade deadline looms

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It is an annual fascination for hockey diehards and the media who cover the NHL.

But for those who can be peddled like cattle, Wednesday’s NHL Trade Deadline has become more nuisance than entertainment.

And for a team like the Winnipeg Jets – who are right back in the playoff discussion after going on an 11-3-1 run under new coach Paul Maurice – there is a hope the club adds and not subtracts from the talent currently holding down fort in the dressing room.

"As a player there's not much you can do about it. Luckily enough for us we're in a tight race here and we've got to focus on that," said Jets’ captain Andrew Ladd.

"It's fun to be in a playoff race and at this point of the year you want to be in a position to add to your group. We've done that and I think we're also comfortable with what we have in here. We think we can get even better. I don't think (the deadline) is something we're really thinking about."

Asked if he was hoping the Jets would add more pieces, Ladd echoed a sentiment that speaks of the growing confidence in the room.

"We're comfortable with what we have in here," he said. "We have great chemistry right now and understand, collectively as a group, what we're trying to do. At the end of the day it's not our decision, that's Chevy's (GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s) job and we put our trust in him and just play hockey."

The Jets have six players who become unrestricted free agents this summer, meaning they are vulnerable to being moved to another NHL team looking to augment what it already has with a ‘rental.’ They are forwards Olli Jokinen, Devin Setoguchi and Chris Thorburn, defencemen Mark Stuart and Adam Pardy and goaltender Al Montoya.

"If you think about it, it drives you crazy," said Setoguchi. "I’ve been around long enough to know you just enjoy every day you’ve got and whatever happens, happens. If you think about it you’re going to drive yourself nuts."

Both Setoguchi and Toby Enstrom, who missed practice Sunday, were back on the ice today. Eric Tangradi, whom Maurice said was banged up, did not skate. Meanwhile, the Jets’ medical staff has determined that James Wright has an ankle sprain and he will be out indefinitely.

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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