Jets line com­bos be­gin to take shape ... What about the D pairs? ... Pe­tan shifts to wing — for now — to aid hopes of mak­ing the team ... Mor­ris­sey en­joys ex­pe­ri­ence at Worlds

News and notes on the Jets

Winnipeg Sun - - SPORTS -

It’s more than sheer spec­u­la­tion, but it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber the start of the reg­u­lar sea­son re­mains sev­eral weeks away.

With the ar­rival of the first ac­tual on-ice ses­sions at Win­nipeg Jets train­ing camp (on-ice fit­ness test­ing doesn’t count), many were won­der­ing if head coach Paul Mau­rice might be tip­ping his hand on how things might look in terms of line com­bi­na­tions and de­fence pair­ings this sea­son.

As is cus­tom­ary, it’s im­por­tant to not read too much into Day 1, but you can’t com­pletely ig­nore it ei­ther.

“I know one thing, the lines are never set in stone. They’re go­ing to move over the course of the year,” Mau­rice said. “Part of this is train­ing camp. We’ll move them around a bit, there’s not a lot of time — nine prac­tices, seven games, and then the puck drops, so we won’t over­ex­per­i­ment. I’ve got a pretty clean idea right now who the top-six for­wards are.”

With plenty of de­bate over how the top-six should look, Satur­day’s ses­sions fea­tured Pa­trik Laine play­ing on the left side of the first line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.

“That’s where we started. At the end of the day, there’s still go­ing to be move­ment in those six guys,” said Mau­rice, re­fer­ring to his top two lines. “We’re go­ing to move them around just to make sure they don’t get stale, but I’ll give this a run here for a while.”

Mau­rice isn’t wor­ried about the per­cep­tion that the Jets should be spread­ing out the goal-scor­ing be­yond the top unit.

“You’ve got two guys who can re­ally skate and lug the puck and you got a guy who can fin­ish and I know he’s a 36-goal guy and the re­port will be I loaded up one line, but I put a 19-year-old with two veter­ans and one of those guys (Scheifele) is 24,” Mau­rice said. “In terms of ex­pe­ri­ence on the ice, I like the idea of (Laine) play­ing with those types of vet­eran guys that can skate a lot.”

Bryan Lit­tle started with Mathieu Per­reault and Niko­laj Eh­lers, while Adam Lowry was with Kyle Con­nor and Joel Ar­mia, Matt Hen­dricks was with Andrew Copp and Bran­don Tanev and Jack Roslovic was be­tween Shawn Matthias and Nic Pe­tan.

In the af­ter­noon ses­sion, Michael Sgar­bossa was be­tween Bren­dan Lemieux and Marko Dano.

The Jets open the pre-sea­son sched­ule on Mon­day against the Min­nesota Wild.

ABOUT THE D COM­BOS

The first group also gave a glimpse of what the de­fence pair­ings might look like on open­ing night.

Josh Mor­ris­sey was with Jacob Trouba, Tyler My­ers was with new­comer Dmitry Ku­likov, Dustin Byfuglien was with Lo­gan Stan­ley and Tucker Pool­man was with Toby En­strom.

Stan­ley will be head­ing back to ju­nior and Pool­man is likely to need some sea­son­ing with the Man­i­toba Moose of the Amer­i­can Hockey League as he works his way back from bi­lat­eral shoul­der surgery, but that would put the fa­mil­iar pair­ing of Byfuglien and En­strom back to­gether.

Mau­rice ex­plained he wanted to put Stan­ley with Byfuglien and Pool­man with En­strom for very spe­cific rea­sons.

“Two big men. (Byfuglien) can show him things. Just by watch­ing your part­ner, so that’s what I wanted,” Mau­rice said. “I wanted Pool­man with En­strom for the same rea­son. It’s how they talk. Tucker is a bright guy, cere­bral guy, and Toby can sit and talk to you for days about hockey and things that he’s learned.”

Stan­ley, who was cho­sen 18th over­all in the 2016 NHL draft, didn’t get into any pre-sea­son ac­tion with the Jets last fall.

Might that change dur­ing his se­cond NHL train­ing camp?

“I want him to get through the first two prac­tices,” Mau­rice said. “If he does that, more than likely we’ll see him in a game.”

Ben Chiarot is the lead­ing can­di­date to be the sev­enth de­fence­man.

PE­TAN ON THE WING

Pe­tan, who had one goal and 13 points in 54 games last sea­son while av­er­ag­ing 10:54 of ice time, is in a bat­tle to main­tain his NHL ros­ter spot and he’s start­ing train­ing camp on the wing in­stead of his nat­u­ral po­si­tion of cen­tre.

“That’s why he’s on the wing. I want to give him the best chance to make the team,” Mau­rice said. “Also, at his size, the wing is an eas­ier place for him to play right now. He can be a lit­tle bit like Mathieu Per­reault. He can be a lit­tle bit more dy­namic when you get him out on the wings. That’s why he starts there.”

WEAR­ING THE MAPLE LEAF

Mor­ris­sey rel­ished the op­por­tu­nity to suit up for Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Men’s Hockey Cham­pi­onship, tak­ing home a sil­ver medal af­ter los­ing in a shootout to Swe­den.

“It was a big thrill. I wasn’t re­ally ex­pect­ing it, wasn’t re­ally sure I was go­ing to get the call,” Mor­ris­sey said. “I was pretty thrilled to get the chance to play. Ob­vi­ously, it was a tough way to lose in the shootout in the fi­nal, but a great ex­pe­ri­ence. I think hav­ing the chance to play along­side some elite play­ers in the NHL, guys that you’re shut­ting down some nights and go­ing into the cor­ners, you can see them up close and get to know them, pick their brain a lit­tle bit. It was great.

“Per­son­ally, I hope I don’t have the chance to go in the fu­ture be­cause we’re in the play­offs, but it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence and I was able to learn a lot from it.”

CHRIS PROCAYLO/WIN­NIPEG SUN

Jets’ Michael Sgar­bossa (left) gets dumped by Chase De Leo on the ice dur­ing train­ing camp yes­ter­day. Both will be in tough to make the team.

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