The Winnipeg Jets took a notable hit to their depth chart Tuesday when it was revealed defenceman Luca Sbisa and goalie Eric Comrie had been plucked off waivers.

Sbisa, who was likely to be relegated to the taxi squad had he cleared, was claimed by the Nashville Predators. The Jets inked the veteran blue-liner to a one-year deal worth US$800,000 after he contributed two goals and eight assists in 44 games in 2019-20.

JASON HALSTEAD / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>The Winnipeg Jets placed goaltender Eric Comrie on waivers Monday only to see him claimed by the New Jersey Devils.</p>

JASON HALSTEAD / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The Winnipeg Jets placed goaltender Eric Comrie on waivers Monday only to see him claimed by the New Jersey Devils.

Though Sbisa wasn’t going to be relied on heavily, at least on the ice, he was a well-respected presence in the locker room and someone adored by his teammates.

As for Comrie, who was picked up by the New Jersey Devils, the 25-year-old will likely earn an elevated role with his new team after the sudden retirement of Corey Crawford, who had inked a two-year contract in the off-season. In Winnipeg, Comrie was behind Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit.

"Eric’s been with us kind of back and forth for a long time, and he’s a great kid. Unfortunately for him, our goaltending situation has always been a bit crowded. He’s always been a guy that we’ve loved having around. That’s why we keep trying to find space for him in our organization," Jets captain Blake Wheeler said.

"So when he left us for Detroit last year we were rooting for him and a lot of guys were keeping in touch with him. And we’ll do the same now. Just hope he gets an opportunity to establish himself.

Wheeler added: "Sbisa, my next-door neighbour here, I’m not happy about that one. Not happy at all."

Because of a rule owing to COVID-19, teams must have three goalies. Head coach Paul Maurice said the Jets will add Mikhail Berdin from the Manitoba Moose. Unlike Comrie, Berdin is on his entry-level contract and doesn’t need to clear waivers to go between the NHL and AHL.

Veteran forward Mathieu Perreault managed to survive being plucked off waivers, likely the result of teams having little interest inheriting his US$4.125-million contract this season. Perreault could be seen mucking it up with his teammates, including slapping a high five with goalie coach Wade Flaherty as he entered the ice Tuesday, clearly relieved he been cleared.

"When I heard (Monday), I wasn’t really excited about it obviously. It was a (salary) cap situation so they had to go ahead with it. But finding out this morning that I was staying here, I was pretty happy," Perreault said.

"It’s a weird feeling. A little nervous I would say. Obviously for me here with my family, my kids in school and stuff, it wouldn’t have been a really ideal situation for me to have to go somewhere else. That part of it got me a little nervous. It’s just part of this business and I understand that. And I’m just glad that I’m still here."

The Jets were required to submit their 23-man roster and four-to-six player taxi squad to the league by 4 p.m. Tuesday. But despite a number of other Canadian teams releasing their rosters, Winnipeg still hadn’t published any updated information by press time.

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @jeffkhamilton

Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.

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