FOUR more players were trimmed off the Winnipeg Jets' roster on Friday and they were all tough decisions, head coach Claude Noel said.
Winger David Koci was released from his tryout, winger Carl Klingberg was assigned to the St. John's IceCaps of the AHL and both winger Spencer Machacek and defenceman Brett Festerling were placed on waivers and will be assigned to the IceCaps if they clear.
"He'll get an opportunity again," Noel said of Festerling, who had a near-impossible task because the Jets are bringing back their top-six blue-liners from last season. "He's a good player. I'm glad we signed him." Noel also said he had no complaint with Machacek.
"They're all knocking on the door," the coach said. "He's a really good surprise for me. He did everything he could do. He may be back."
The moves left the team with 32 players, but five (Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Maxwell, Aaron Gagnon, Kenndal McArdle and Eric Fehr) are on the injured list, so for the time being, only four more cuts may be required to get down to the opening-day roster maximum of 23.
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Back in Winnipeg, his home province, Predators coach Barry Trotz said Friday he feels the energy of the NHL's return.
"I'm excited for Winnipeg. I mean, I was around when Winnipeg lost the team, being at the U of M and being a Manitoba boy," said Trotz. "I'm just excited to see how much vitality a sports team can bring to a city. It's just a great atmosphere and it'll be a real fun year for all Jets' fans, I'm sure."
As he was talking, Noel, a former AHL coach in the Preds' system, walked up, barged right into the scrum and interrupted it while cameras were rolling.
"He's a quiet guy," Trotz said later, as the scrum of reporters erupted in laughter. "Claude has been a big part of our organization."