NEWARK, NJ – The Winnipeg Jets hope they’ve found some offensive pop with their first of three picks in the second round of the NHL Draft.
The Jets used their pick, 43rd overall, to grab Portland Winterhawks centre Nicholas Petan – a high-scoring forward who some had pegged to go late in the first round.
Petan may be small at 5-8, 163, but he can definitely score: his 120 points (46 goals, 74 assists) tied for the Western Hockey League lead with Winnipegger and fellow linemate Brendan Leipsic this past season.
"It’s a real honour," said Petan. "Sitting there you don’t know what’s going to happen and then to hear your name called… I’m just so excited to be a part of the organization.
"I’m a smaller guy, but I use my size to my advantage. I’m a two-way centreman who likes to play defence just as much as I like to play offence. I like to be creative and use my skill and my smarts to my advantage."
Petan’s 2012-13 season with Portland came up short in the Memorial Cup final, but teamed with Ty Rattie and Brendan Leipsic, a Winnipegger, the line was one of the most-dominant in the CHL this year.
"The biggest thing I learned (from playing with Rattie and Leipsic) is it doesn’t matter how good you are, you’ve got to work hard to make things happen out there," said Petan. "It doesn’t matter how tall you are, how big you are, you’ve got to make things happen."
The Jets spoke with Petan once at the combine – by comparison first-rounder Joshua Morrissey had four interviews with the team – but his skill clearly jumped out at the team’s brass.
As for the questions about his size?
"I’ve overcome it at every level," he said. "And I’m looking forward to the challenge next in my life."
The Jets then used their second pick in the second round, 59th overall, to select goaltender Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans. Comrie, an Edmonton product, was 20-14-3 with a 2.92 goals against average and .915 save percentage this past year. They then traded their last pick of the second round, 61st overall, to the Washington Capitals for the 84th, 114th and 127th pick.