The Winnipeg Jets made a trio of personnel moves Sunday to establish a final roster ahead of Monday's league-imposed deadline, prior to the start of the 2021-22 NHL regular season.

The Winnipeg Jets made a trio of personnel moves Sunday to establish a final roster ahead of Monday's league-imposed deadline, prior to the start of the 2021-22 NHL regular season.

Contracts, indeed, had a hand in some of the decisions.

The Jets assigned centre David Gustafsson to the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League, and placed winger Dominic Toninato and defenceman Nelson Nogier on waivers.

The Gustaffson demotion was all about a guy benefitting from playing bigger minutes and assuming a leadership role with the Moose.

"I really liked his camp. I really like this guy as a player and the role he’s going to develop into," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice, following Sunday's practice at the downtown arena. "To take that other fourth line, or centre, or left wing job, I want to make sure he’s going to play minutes in that role. If not, if it’s going to be that he’s going to fight with those other two guys to get in the lineup, then he should be playing 20 minutes a night (with the Moose). That’s what it’s all about.

"We thought he made huge strides last year (in the AHL), touching the puck, making plays, shooting the puck, getting the confidence to have some offensive part to his game. I’d like to see that develop. I really like the kid and I like where he’s at."

Winnipeg now has 23 healthy players available, although Evgeny Svechnikov, a former first-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings, still doesn't have an NHL contract but will ink one at any moment.

Rookie forward Cole Perfetti and defenceman Ville Heinola remain with the Jets.

Jets head coach Paul Maurice says he's liked the growth he's seen from David Gustafsson (19) in his time with the Manitoba Moose.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Jets head coach Paul Maurice says he's liked the growth he's seen from David Gustafsson (19) in his time with the Manitoba Moose.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and assistant GM Larry Simmons need to compose a roster with a salary-cap hit as near to $81.5 million as possible, so as to maximize Bryan Little's move to long-term injury reserve (LTIR).

After Sunday's tinkering, the Central Division squad has about $29,000 left in cap space. With Svechnikov coming onto the books, Winnipeg might well begin the season Wednesday night in Anaheim with just 22 on the roster.

Heinola will likely be the odd man out before Wednesday.

Whether Perfetti suits up for his NHL debut against the Ducks remains to be seen. Otherwise, the veteran Toninato could play.

Maurice's line combinations at Monday's practice should point to the direction the club is leaning.

Jets winger Andrew Copp has been an active part of the NHL players union and went through salary arbitration two years ago. While he gets the business side of the game, his on-ice acumen is the only thing that matters.

"It’s definitely not my job, but (salary-cap considerations are) a little bit interesting," Copp said. "With the cap, there are casualties and you never like to see that. I don’t know how many guys we have on the ice (Sunday) but the roster has got to get to 22 or 23, so there is kind of some stuff now where there are casualties instead of figuring it out how it all works.

"That’s (management’s) job. For us, we’re trying to get prepared for Wednesday to play a hockey game. Not really worried about some of the external decisions that management has to make."

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Assistant sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).