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Petan, rest mortal enemies

Jets' No. 2 pick in 2013 wouldn't know what to do with time off

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Is Nic Petan tired yet, having played deep into the WHL season to the league championships series three straight years?

The answer is a resounding no.

"It definitely seems long every season when you're in that position, but it's odd -- you have short summers -- but this year seems like more time than last year because of the (2013) draft," said the second-round pick last year. "I've had a month to work out now, so I'm feeling good and ready to go.

"You just adjust to it. Most players who don't make playoffs or go out early have more time to work on that stuff. You get used to it, the short summers."

Petan's success with the WHL's Portland Winterhawks has provided oodles of extra development time for the 19-year-old centre.

More than most realize.

The Delta, B.C., native has been plenty prolific in his most recent two seasons, with 120- and 113-point years to go with his 35 points as a junior rookie.

But when you add in his post-season play, you get another full year of development.

Petan has played in 69 post-season games since 2012, and scored 66 points in those.

And he has thrived on the action, proving himself to be near the top of the charts in terms of conditioning and production.

"I didn't go to St. John's after the season was over, stayed home and just rested," he said of this spring. "That was a key thing there. Got a lot of rest, sat back after playing a lot of hockey in the last two years. That was good to have some rest. Now I'm feeling good, back in the gym again."

There is plenty to prepare for.

He does have one more year of junior eligibility but it's no secret the Jets have an eager eye on him and others, considering their NHL depth at centre needs to improve.

"I'm very hard on myself all summer," Petan said on Monday's first day of development camp. "Goals? Just to obviously get to this week, have a good world junior camp in August and get ready for main camp and the rookie tournament.

"Those are big things for me, big steps, and I think to make a push for that chance this year will be hard, but it's a push I'm going to make and whatever happens, happens. I'm obviously not old enough to play in the NHL yet, but I definitely want to make a push."

The Team Canada question is an important one for Petan this season, having been on the team that lost the world junior bronze-medal game last January.

"I'll just take it the same last year, take it as it happens and find my way onto the team," he said. "I'm looking forward to that and to a little revenge."

In terms of his future with the Jets, Petan said he tries to keep the day-to-day goings-on of the NHL team away from his direct vision. Of course, he added, that's nearly impossible, especially being a prospect for a Canadian-based club.

"I try not to look at it too much but people around me here and there are on it," he laughed. "I think it's nice to have that support. I like that people seem to be behind me."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 8, 2014 C2

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