It was a forgone conclusion that Seth Jarvis' time in the American Hockey League this year would be limited, but he sure made the most of it.
In nine games with the Chicago Wolves, Jarvis vaulted to the top of the scoring list in the AHL with 11 points (7g, 4a), and he did that at just 19 years of age.
"The production is great. With skilled players, you want them to produce. Having said that, I think his overall game is as impressive and doesn't show up in the numbers," Assistant General Manager Darren Yorke said. "He is a kid playing against men, and there's no backing down. There's no viewing of him looking and playing like his age. Everything from off-ice to on-ice, he was playing beyond his age."
Five months ago, the Canes selected Jarvis with the 13th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Though he was only able to be virtually introduced to the organization in early October, the Canes knew the dynamic, game-breaking talent they had added to their prospect pipeline.
Jarvis put pen to paper on his entry-level contract in late December, as he arrived in Raleigh for the start of training camp. (Hear from Jarvis shortly after signing that contract on episode 155 of CanesCast at the 41:35 mark.)
"Seth's been great since the moment he got here," Yorke said. "Any time with a prospect, you want to see progression. With him, every day he got better. He took the teachings from training camp and adapted that to real-game situations in Chicago."
It didn't take long for Jarvis to make an impact in the AHL. Just four days after celebrating his 19th birthday, he scored a goal in his debut with the Wolves, what was the game winner in a 3-1 final against Grand Rapids. Jarvis then scored in each of the next three games and recorded points in six straight to start the season. He was held off the scoresheet only twice in his first nine games as a professional.
"The AHL is obviously bigger, stronger and faster than his everyday games in junior, and it didn't seem to matter," Yorke said. "He understood time and space as well as any 19-year-old is able to do in such a short amount of time. His ability to understand the game, play with pace and be competitive allowed him to have success. I think it's something he needs to be proud of given how much he accomplished in such a short amount of time."
Given his early production, it would have been a bonus to see Jarvis play the balance of the season in the AHL. But rules are rules, and per the stipulations of the transfer agreement between the National Hockey League and the Canadian Hockey League (and its member leagues), drafted junior players must be 20 years old to compete in the AHL.
Jarvis was only able to log a month in Chicago while the Western Hockey League finalized plans for a shortened 2021 season. Jarvis then had to return to the Portland Winterhawks, but in any other non-pandemic season, he would have bypassed the AHL entirely after training camp.
This stint, even if it was just nine games, was a bonus in itself and a valuable one for his development.
"The key takeaway here is that now he has a baseline of where his game needs to be. He has an understanding of where the next level is. He got a little bit of a taste, and now it's on him to continually jump over that bar," Yorke said. "This puts him in a position to take what he's learned here, go to Portland, own that league, continue to be that offensive player with the understanding that he still needs to work on defensively, have a great summer and continue this skyward progression to take it into training camp next year."