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Perreault happy to stay in Jets colours after stressful 24 hours

"Finding out this morning I was staying here, I was pretty happy." -Perreault

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - On Monday, the Winnipeg Jets were one of many teams to put players on waivers in an attempt to get them to the taxi squad.

While the majority of those teams were successful in that endeavour, the Jets lost two players - Luca Sbisa and Eric Comrie - while keeping three: Mathieu Perreault, Nelson Nogier, and C.J. Suess.

Both Sbisa and Perreault took to the ice at Bell MTS Place about 20 minutes prior to Tuesday's scheduled 11 am CT start time. Right around that start time, both players left the ice to find out their fate.

When Perreault returned, there were stick taps and fist bumps for the veteran forward who has been part of the Jets roster for six seasons.

"It's been a little crazy," said Perreault. "Obviously when I heard yesterday, I wasn't really too excited about it. But it was a cap situation, something they had to go ahead with. Finding out this morning I was staying here, I was pretty happy."

Video: TRAINING CAMP | Mathieu Perreault

The 33-year-old knows decisions like the one he was involved in are part of the business. Still, it didn't make the 24-hour waiver period any easier.

"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," Perreault said. "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 entire thought process behind the decision was explained to Perreault on Monday by Jets head coach Paul Maurice and Kevin Cheveldayoff.

"This was all related to the salary cap. At Matty's number, we were confident, but there's always that chance," said Maurice, referencing Perreault's cap hit of $4.125 million.

"Most of these teams have their roster and their numbers set like that. We were real confident Matty would get through and be back with the Jets."

Video: TRAINING CAMP | Paul Maurice

For Comrie and Sbisa, waivers are nothing new.

Comrie was claimed off waivers last season by the Arizona Coyotes. From there, the goaltender was traded to the Detroit Red Wings, where he had three NHL starts - including one in Winnipeg against the Jets.

He was put on waivers by the Red Wings in an attempt to send him to the American Hockey League on Dec. 18, 2019 and was then claimed by the team who he started the campaign with, the Jets, to close out a wild year.

As for Sbisa, he was claimed off waivers by the Jets as well. That transaction occurred on Oct. 23, 2019 when injuries hit the team's blue line.

"Eric has been with us back and forth for a long time. He's a great kid. Unfortunately for him, our goaltending situation has always been a little bit crowded," said Wheeler. "Sbisa is my next door neighbour here. I'm not happy about that one."

Comrie's claim also means that the Jets will put Mikhail Berdin, who was reassigned to the Manitoba Moose on Monday, on the taxi squad for the time being.

Maurice was hopeful not to put young players like Berdin in that position, however the AHL's anticipated start date of Feb. 5 means there are a few weeks before Berdin would see game action with the Moose.

There are still more decisions to be made, including how Ville Heinola and Cole Perfetti factor in once they're out of quarantine. Maurice knows having younger players on the taxi squad to start may be unavoidable.

"Even before Luca got claimed today, we still had young guys there," he said. "We have the ability to have them practice with us and then go play with the Moose, so that rotation will happen and that won't change anything.

"We're a ways away from the American League starting so it really doesn't affect us a whole heck of a lot."

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