Roslovic relishing role on Jets

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Jack Roslovic hasn't registered a point in five games with the NHL's Winnipeg Jets this season, but there's little concern about the 2015 first-round draft pick's production.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/01/2018 (1778 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Jack Roslovic hasn’t registered a point in five games with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets this season, but there’s little concern about the 2015 first-round draft pick’s production.

The slick 20-year-old winger seems content with his role, drawing fourth-line minutes and some bonus time on the power play.

“It’s been good,” said Roslovic prior to the Jets game against the visiting Vancouver Canucks Sunday night (7 p.m., Sportsnet, TSN 1290) at Bell MTS Place. “The transition’s starting to turn a little bit so I’m just getting used to my game at the NHL level. Just trying to keep it simple and do what I’m best at.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Jack Roslovic leads the Manitoba Moose in scoring, but is still looking for his first goal with the Winnipeg Jets.

“Playing with Matt (Hendricks) and Marko (Dano) you just chip the puck in, you get on the body and you really try to create energy for the team. Being on that first power play, too, with (Blake Wheeler) and Patty (Laine), Kyle (Connor) and (Dustin Byfuglien), I’ve just gotta be an option for them, retrieve pucks for them and sometimes get the puck and try to score.”

Roslovic hasn’t been without prime scoring chances. In fact, he hit a cross-bar during a Jan. 12 game against the Chicago Blackhawks and dinged a shot off a post during Saturday afternoon’s 2-1 shootout win in Calgary.

“I know, it was tough here but I’m just trying to keep it simple,” he said. “It’s going to come here eventually. I’m just going to try to make the most of all my opportunities.”

Roslovic, who was leading the AHL’s Manitoba Moose in scoring with 35 points in 32 games prior to his recall, has the full support of head coach Paul Maurice.

“It’s the perfect role for him right now as he tries and makes the transition,” said Maurice. “It was kinda the same role Joel Armia was in, fourth-line minutes but power play time. He’s been good at getting pucks off the wall at his end of the ice and he’s been really good at skating and being on the puck. So there’s been no sharking in his game. That’s something that you do more of naturally when you play centre ice — you’ve gotta slow your game down a little bit and read both sides of the ice a little bit more. We think of having him on the wing kinda defines what he sees and has to do. I’ve liked all of that.

“So the things you worry about for a young guy, he hasn’t shown a whole lot (of). He’s not sharking around the ice, he’s not coasting, he’s on it and he’s been pretty darn good on the wall in his end of the ice.”

GOAL DROUGHT? Winnipeg has only scored three goals in its previous three games, but left-winger Nikolaj Ehlers said the situation is no cause for concern.

“We just watched video and the chances yesterday (against the Flames) we had were pretty big,” said Ehlers. “We got two points yesterday and the chances we had yesterday, if we keep playing the way that we do, we’re going to keep getting those, and at some point they have to go in.”

Added Mathieu Perreault: “Chances are there. We looked at it this morning. We probably had six or seven Grade A chances. Niky had two himself. As long as the chances are there, we’re fine.”

TOO CLOSE TO CALL: The Jets entered Sunday’s action one point behind the first-place Nashville Predators in the Central with the rest of the division not far behind. Only 12 points separated the Preds and the seventh-place Chicago Blackhawks.

“I don’t remember one like this where you looked at a division and thought every one of those teams is a playoff team or it looks like they could be; has won Stanley Cups recently or capable of going on a nine-game run,” said Maurice. “Every one of those teams can get hot, or you can take a five-day break and everybody wins for the whole week, kinda thing. But I think everybody felt that fairly early that the Central Division was going to be really jammed up.”

GOING BACK-TO-BACK: Connor Hellebuyck will get the start again tonight after a strong 30-save effort in Calgary. Giving Michael Hutchinson a start against the Canucks was not a strong consideration, despite the back-to-back scenario.

“It’s back to back but we’ve had five (days off),” said Maurice. “Back to back is really only an issue really on how you come into that back to back. If you have a whole bunch of hockey before, then you feel it, but afternoon game to night game, I was pretty sure Helly was going all the way. He looked good last night.”

Anders Nilsson is expected to get the start for the visitors, who were 5-2 losers in Edmonton Saturday night.

The Canucks are 1-3-1 in opening games of back-to-back games and 3-1-0 in the closing game. Winnipeg, meanwhile, is 2-3-1 in openers of a a back-to-back and 2-2-1 in the second game.

BO’S BACK: The Canucks are expected to have veteran forward Bo Horvath back in the lineup tonight after an extended stay on injured reserve due to a fractured foot. In 18 games without Horvath, the Canucks went 4-12-2. He could slot in on Vancouver’s top line with Sven Baertschi and Brock Boeser.

Meanwhile, veteran defenceman Erik Gudbranson will miss his second consecutive game with back spasms. Derrick Pouliot will fill his spot on the roster.

JETS INJURY REPORT: Centre Adam Lowry (upper body) skated Sunday morning and Maurice said he might play Tuesday in San Jose.

Centre Mark Scheifle (upper body) remains on injured reserve, goaltender Steve Mason (concussion) day-to-day while left-winger Shawn Matthias (upper body) has been downgraded to week-to-week.

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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