August 20, 2018

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Jets players say no roster additions necessary

TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS</p><p>Winnipeg Jets' Bryan Little (18) and Mathieu Perreault (85) try to steal the puck from Arizona Coyotes' Max Domi (16) Tuesday evening in Winnipeg, February 6, 2018. "We've got so many guys here right now, with all the injuries. When these guys come back, we’ll have a boatload of players. I don't know if we necessarily need to add players to our team," said Perreault. </p>

TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Winnipeg Jets' Bryan Little (18) and Mathieu Perreault (85) try to steal the puck from Arizona Coyotes' Max Domi (16) Tuesday evening in Winnipeg, February 6, 2018. "We've got so many guys here right now, with all the injuries. When these guys come back, we’ll have a boatload of players. I don't know if we necessarily need to add players to our team," said Perreault.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/2/2018 (193 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

They appear to be a legitimate playoff contender and have all the tools — namely salary-cap space and a deep prospect pool — to make a big splash at the trade deadline.

How active will the Winnipeg Jets be?

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will have plenty to consider between now and Feb. 26. His team occupies top spot in the ultra-competitive Central Division with a 32-13-9 record, and sits second in the Western Conference and third in the NHL in points.

They’ve done it, especially lately, with several key pieces out of the lineup.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/2/2018 (193 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

They appear to be a legitimate playoff contender and have all the tools — namely salary-cap space and a deep prospect pool — to make a big splash at the trade deadline.

How active will the Winnipeg Jets be?

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will have plenty to consider between now and Feb. 26. His team occupies top spot in the ultra-competitive Central Division with a 32-13-9 record, and sits second in the Western Conference and third in the NHL in points.

They’ve done it, especially lately, with several key pieces out of the lineup.

Some are making their way back, beginning with the expected return of No. 1 centre Mark Scheifele when the Jets host the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.

The Jets had seven regulars on the sidelines in Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes, which ran their streak to eight games without a regulation defeat (6-0-2).

It is for that reason that several players said Wednesday they’d be comfortable if Cheveldayoff does nothing before the trade deadline.

"We’ve got so many guys here right now, with all the injuries. When these guys come back, we’ll have a boatload of players. I don’t know if we necessarily need to add players to our team," said Mathieu Perreault.

The veteran forward offered up an interesting perspective on the issue, noting he was a part of several Washington Capitals teams between 2009 and 2013 that dominated during the regular season and always tried to load up.

"I feel like we pretty much did that every year. We’d be the top team in the league, then go out and get somebody at the deadline and it never really worked out, from my experience anyways," said Perreault. "It’s not our call at all. We’ll see what happens. We like what we have here right now."

Goalie Connor Hellebuyck said he believes the team has the right ingredients to go on a lengthy run.

"I think we have the locker room to do it," said Hellebuyck. "I like the guys in this locker room. We’ve been winning with the guys in this locker room. I don’t get caught up in the GM stuff. I’m just here to do my job to the best of my ability."

In addition to Scheifele’s return, recovering forwards Adam Lowry, Matt Hendricks, Brandon Tanev and Shawn Matthias, defenceman Jacob Trouba and goalie Steve Mason are all expected to be options in the coming weeks. Their absences have allowed players such as Kyle Connor, Jack Roslovic, Marko Dano, Nic Petan, Brendan Lemieux, Ben Chiarot and Tucker Poolman to make contributions.

"Really out of my control, but we feel really comfortable with what we have in the room right now, I think. From the goaltenders to the defensive depth that we have to the forward depth that we’ve been able to show, too, I think we’re really comfortable with the group we have now," forward Andrew Copp said.

"Obviously, we know the position we’re in and adding pieces at the trade deadline is usually a part of (trying to get better), but we feel really comfortable with where we are. With that being said, if something did happen we’d obviously try and incorporate him and make him feel welcome," said Copp. "Totally out of our control in the room, but we’re really happy with what we have right now."

Winnipeg went 11-2-3 in 16 games without Scheifele. Ten of those games also had Lowry out with injury, and Winnipeg went 7-2-1 in that span. It’s a testament to the organization’s depth that they’ve thrived despite missing such pivotal centres.

"We have a great team here. No matter who went down, guys have stepped up and played awesome. That’s what a good team does," said Scheifele.

Does that mean status quo is the way to go?

"It’s not in our job description. We go out there and play, that’s our focus. We know we have a good team here, that’s obviously a positive. We just gotta continue to focus on playing our game and doing what we need to do to win," said Scheifele. "If there’s a player added, no matter what it is, we’re going to continue to play our game and continue to try and get points and make the playoffs."

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Reporter

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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