Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Whittled-down team taking shape nicely

A few more cuts and club is season-ready

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IT is starting to look like a finished product, but Winnipeg Jets management still have some final roster nips and tucks to make.

Head coach Claude Noel hinted Saturday afternoon those decisions could come today or Monday. All NHL teams can carry 23 players, not included the injured, and the Jets still have 32 players, including the injured Eric Fehr, Ben Maxwell, Aaron Gagnon and Kenndal McArdle.

"We're mulling it around," said Noel. "I just talked a little bit to Chevy (GM Kevin Cheveldayoff), he's talking to the staff and we're trying to sort through that stuff today.

"The process takes time and that's the problem: you don't know when it's all going to come. I'm sure the players are quite anxious as well."

One of those anxious players is undoubtedly Mark Scheifele. The 18-year-old centre remains unsigned, although there are whispers that a deal is imminent. If he isn't signed by Tuesday, he would be required to return to the Barrie Colts of the OHL.

Meanwhile, the Jets did place centre Tim Stapleton on waivers on Saturday, but he practised with the team while waiting to see if he would be scooped up by another organization. Both defenceman Brett Festerling and forward Spencer Machacek, placed on waivers en route to St. John's earlier this week, have cleared.

Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little were not on the ice on Saturday, but their minor hurts shouldn't keep them out for long, while Dustin Byfuglien returned to work.

"I'm good," said Byfuglien. "I'm just taking care of the body before it all gets going. I was just sore from working throughout the camp, so I thought I'd take (the time to heal) now and not in the season."

MR. VERSATILE: Derek Meech, a defenceman throughout camp, took some turns up front at forward -- just as he did during his days with the Detroit Red Wings.

"It almost gives you an extra body because he can play a dual role," Noel said of Meech. "But there are other players who can do that, too, although not as specific as him.

"But I don't know if that comes into the equation today (in making roster decisions), but it's something that we look at it because it can really help him and help us."

HAPPY B-DAY: To Jets' defenceman Johnny Oduya, who turned 30 on Saturday.

BODIE ON THE BUBBLE?: Here's Noel on the subject of Troy Bodie, the Portage la Prairie product: "I think Troy's been really good. He's a decent skater, he can play with some skill, thinks the game pretty good and he's got some presence and can bring some physicality.

"He'd be a guy it'd be interesting to look at a little big longer if we could. We'll see where he fits and if he fits."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 2, 2011 B2

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