Winnipeg’s crowded roster got a bit of breathing room on Monday, as the club made a series of moves towards getting to the 23-man limit.
Among the notable cuts were veterans Matt Halischuk and Matt Fraser. Halischuk, 27, is a veteran of 250 NHL contests and a former 15-goal man (with Nashville in ’11-12). He appeared in 47 games for the Jets last year, scoring eight points, and played in one of the team’s four playoff games.
Fraser, 25, signed with the Jets after splitting last season between Boston and Edmonton. A quality scorer at the AHL level, Fraser’s struggled finding his niche at the NHL level; he has just 11 goals and 27 points in 87 career contests.
Both will have to pass through waivers to get to Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.
As for prospects going home, three stood out: Josh Morrissey and Joel Armia, who were demoted to the AHL, and Brendan Lemieux, who’s off to his junior club in OHL Barrie.
Morrissey, the 13th overall pick in ’13, was hoping to stick with the Jets but was always a longshot given the glut of blueliners on NHL deals.
Armia, the 16th overall pick in ’11, was acquired from Buffalo as part of the Evander Kane trade but has yet to make his mark as a Jet. To date, he’s only appeared in one NHL contest.
Lemieux, the son of legendary agitator Claude Lemieux, had a really impressive camp. So impressive, in fact, that there were rumblings of a potential nine-game cameo at the NHL level before returning him to junior.
In the end, though, Winnipeg’s aforementioned roster crowding kept it from happening.