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With roster set, Jets look forward to season opener

by Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) / Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG – The roster is set.

The Winnipeg Jets will begin the 2015-16 season with the following 13 forwards, eight defencemen and two goaltenders:

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers - Mark Scheifele - Mathieu Perreault
Alex Burmistrov - Adam Lowry - Drew Stafford
Nic Petan - Andrew Copp - Chris Thorburn

Anthony Peluso

Toby Enstrom - Tyler Myers
Ben Chiarot - Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Adam Pardy, Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec
Michael Hutchinson

The Jets made a pair moves of Tuesday, assigning forward Thomas Raffl and defenceman Jay Harrison to the Manitoba Moose, leaving 23 players on the active roster before the league’s
4:00pm CT deadline.

Raffl signed a one-year, one-way contract worth $575,000 earlier today after attending Jets training camp on a professional tryout. He was granted permission to sign with Winnipeg from his Austrian club team, EC Red Bull Salzburg.

Because this is Raffl’s first contract and he is over the age of 25 (29), he is waiver-exempt for one year.

3-ON-3 PRACTICE

The Jets practiced earlier today at MTS Centre and spent a considerable amount of time working on their 3-on-3 overtime strategy.

Head Coach Paul Maurice looked on as he tried a number of combinations, including a mix of forwards of defencemen, three forwards and other experimental trios.

“Everyone’s got pretty much the same idea about where the offence is created,” he said. “What we want to try and do is explore as many different things in practice that we think are game-changers. We want to put two or three simple rules into how we’ll approach it, then just put our best players
on the ice and let them execute it.

“This is new. Before, 3-on-3 practice was either a fun skate or a skate for extras. It’s never really been practiced properly. Guys skate too long, they throw long-bomb passes or try low-percentage payoff plays. Now the exact opposite comes in. You’ve got to get your shift length right, you’ve got to pick your offence. Everything that you do 5-on-5, you’ve got to turn it upside down. You’re not screaming ‘Shoot the puck!’ you’re saying, ‘Pick your shot.’

“It’ll be interesting; exciting.”

Ultimately what it boils down to is puck possession – which is why we’re now seeing the goaltender become more involved in helping facilitate line changes. It’s a bold strategy, but one Adam Lowry
is convinced will help teams limit turnovers.

“You don’t want to turn the puck over and give the other team those quick-strike 2- or 3-on-1s,” he said. "Holding onto the puck or throwing it back to your goalie, you gain a big advantage being able to hold their guys on the ice a little longer.”

Added linemate Drew Stafford: “There’s a lot of room out there – a lot of speed – so you’ve got to be careful with your shot choices and your (line) changes. We’re trying to work on a couple little habits that we can implement out there, but the most part is mainly about discipline.”

TWO DAYS LEFT

That’s it. That’s all. Goodbye, off-season.

Thankfully.

In preparation for the season opener Thursday at TD Garden, the Jets will travel to Boston tomorrow afternoon after practicing one last time prior to departure.

It’s been a long summer, and the players are ready to get going.

“They had a bit of turnover in losing (Milan) Lucic, getting (Matt) Beleskey,” Lowry said of the Bruins. “They’re going to be a challenge. We’re focused on getting off to a good start. It’s going to be a tough road trip. Last year I think we started the season 1-4, so we’re looking to have a better
start than that.”

The Jets open the season with four straight – including a pair of back-to-backs – on the road. After playing Boston, New Jersey, the New York Islanders and Rangers, the Jets return home for their home opener on Oct. 16.

– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com

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