WINNIPEG - After Jack Roslovic made his preseason Winnipeg Jets (0-1-0) debut on Tuesday, Kyle Connor will get that same opportunity tonight against the Minnesota Wild (1-1-0).
The 17th overall selection in the 2015 NHL Draft will skate on the wing with Mathieu Perreault in the middle and Alexander Burmistrov on the other side.
"Both of those players can play the game really well and get up the ice. It's going to be fun to play with those guys," said Connor. "It's pretty exciting."
Connor signed a three-year entry level contract in April 2015, after a season with the University of Michigan that saw him record 71 points in 38 games. In that freshman season, Connor finished as a runner-up for the Hobey Baker Award, and also received NCAA honours as Top Collegiate Player, and Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the Big10 Conference.
But taking the step into professional hockey isn't easy, no matter what accolades are on a player's resume. Connor said following today's morning skate that the speed of the game is something he's had to adjust to in camp.
"Even in camp it's at another level," Connor said. "It's still only preseason, but I think it's going to be another step up."
Video: PREGAME | Kyle Connor on facing Minnesota
Helping him with that transition tonight is 28-year-old Perreault. A veteran with over 350 games in the NHL, Perreault says the nerves are the biggest thing Connor will deal with.
"I've been skating with him since the first day here. I've been pretty impressed with him," said Perreault. "He's a great skater, lots of speed, and he sees the ice very well. It seems like, when the play is there and I'm open, he seems to find me. You can't teach that. It's good to see."
Video: PREGAME | Mathieu Perreault on facing Minnesota
Tonight will also be the first preseason action for Perreault, who says he's excited to get back on the MTS Centre ice after a week of skates and scrimmages at MTS Iceplex.
"There's no way to really get ready for a full game. It's going to take us a few shifts to get back into it, but we're excited and I'm happy I'm playing today," said Perreault. "It will be fun to get back at it and get back to the real speed of the game and see what it's like, and get back into the MTS Centre in front of our fans, it should be fun."
The puck drops at 7 pm CT.
Video: PREGAME | Nikolaj Ehlers on facing Minnesota