I don’t try to defy odds or whatever. I just try to do my think out there and be myself. I think details are important on this team and if I can manage to do those little things right, the overall games, it comes. - Josh Jooris
CALGARY, AB -- Forget 19 NHL regular season games. Josh Jooris wasn’t even penned in to get two exhibition bouts.
But not only did Jooris find a way to work himself into more, the 24-year-old second year pro has worked himself up to become a mainstay with the Calgary Flames.
“As a coach you kind of, draw a lineup, a mock lineup,” coach Bob Hartley detailed. “After this you go to your GM and you sit with your veterans and you go through exhibitions games, exhibitions game lineups. It never works out because you have injuries and you have injuries and suddenly you want to look at a younger player or you want to give an extra game to a veteran.
“I had all lineups, basically all made for our, what, nine exhibition games? I’ll be very honest with you, I had Josh Jooris playing one game. I had him slotted to play one game and when you’re slotted to play one game in an exhibition you need to do real well to open eyes, and that’s what he did.
“The credit goes to him. He’s been unbelievable. He’s so much fun to work with. He brings passion and every day he wants to work and you know, you look at our practices, guys are having fun and the guys are going though the walls. I think it translates into our performances during games.”
His 20th game will come Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche.
It’s quite the accomplishment for a player that wasn’t expected to draw into two exhibition tilts just three months ago, never mind have eight goals, 12 points, a plus-4 rating and an average of over 15 minutes of ice time per game at the National Hockey League level.
He had just 11 goals over 75 games with the Abbotsford Heat just a season ago, his first year of professional hockey.
But Jooris, the undrafted product from Union College, isn’t about defying any pre-conceived odds.
“I try not to think about outside factors,” said Jooris, coming off a hat trick at the expense of the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday. “I don’t try to defy odds or whatever. I just try to do my think out there and be myself. I think details are important on this team and if I can manage to do those little things right, the overall games, it comes. I try not to think too far ahead, I just try to approach each day at a time.
“Things have been going well.”
Yes, they have.
Jooris’ point total places him sixth among NHL rookies. His eight goals bump him to third.
How he’s been dispatched by Hartley trumps all that, though.
Only three other Flames centres have taken more trips to the dot than Jooris’ 201 this season. Only five forwards have been used more than Jooris on the penalty kill this season, while the native of Burlington, ON. has seemingly found a role on the Flames’ power play, too.
“I’m getting out there and in critical times and that’s just something that you get better at the more you do it,” Jooris said. “I think I’m feeling my way around, just getting more comfortable with every game I play.
“I’ve just got to keep doing the little thing right, and just keep going.”
And keep it going one game at a time.