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ANALYSIS: Plenty of competition remains for spots on Jets’ roster

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Prior to training camp starting, and then throughout its first few days, most believed that the competition for jobs with the Winnipeg Jets wasn’t at the premium it had been in the past.

It appeared — superficially — that most positions were filled and the team’s 23-man roster a mere formality — even though there were six exhibition games to play and three weeks of practices to commence.

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But entering Sunday’s preseason game, head coach Rick Bowness made it clear on 680 CJOB that while available jobs weren’t necessarily posted, there were still opportunities for players to usurp others, and that revelation alone forced us to look in a different place.

For instance, the quest to secure the sixth or seventh spot on the team’s blue line has moved into an intriguing observation, and frankly, through two preseason games, it has turned into quite the fight for those spots, especially amongst a group of early to middle 20-somethings hungry to become charter Jets and for the biggest paycheques.

The following players have been assigned to their junior teams:
G – Dominic DiVincentiis (North Bay – OHL)
F – Jacob Julien (London – OHL)
F – Connor Levis (Kamloops – WHL)

— Winnipeg Jets PR (@WpgJetsPR) September 26, 2023

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Players like Ville Heinola, Kyle Capobianco, Logan Stanley, and Declan Chisholm are all in the mix, and their individual play thus far doesn’t appear to have placed anyone ahead of anyone else. With the team’s third preseason game set for Wednesday night, those young players in this job fair will get another chance to show their wares … or as Bowness has also said, eventually cut themselves.

Now, there is one item to keep in mind when it comes to the ultimate final decision, and that’s who is waivers-exempt and who is waivers-eligible. That, in and of itself, could play a deciding factor, as the Jets are all too familiar with losing players on the waiver wire that they didn’t really want to part with: Jonathan Kovacevic and Michael Eyssimont come to mind most recently.

So as training camp rolls along, the competition for jobs is indeed alive and well, albeit not at the premium it has been in the past nor at a premium position on the depth chart this time around.