McKenzie scores twice in Jets preseason debut
McKenzie: " I can't even explain the happiness that's going through me and my family right now."by Jamie Thomas @JamieThomasTV / WinnipegJets.com
WINNIPEG - Skyler McKenzie already has a flair for the dramatic in his short time as a professional hockey player.
After scoring 87 times over his final two seasons with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, McKenzie scored in his debut with the Manitoba Moose - in a playoff game no less - back in April.
Tonight in his first NHL preseason game, McKenzie scored not once but twice in the Winnipeg Jets 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers at Bell MTS Place on Sunday night.
"Felt unbelievable. I can't even explain the happiness that's going through me and my family right now. I'm just super excited." said McKenzie who played just over 10 minutes tonight. "Yeah (my phone) is blowing up. I can't even go through it right now."
Video: POSTGAME | Skyler McKenzie
McKenzie is from Sherwood Park which is 16 km east of Edmonton, so scoring against his hometown team adds some value as well. No one from the McKenzie family was in attendance this evening but his mother made sure on social media how thrilled she was about her son's performance.
A seventh-round pick by the Jets back in 2017, McKenzie seems to always be moving out on the ice.
"It's something that I pride myself on for sure," said McKenzie. "Just keep on going, don't ever stop, keep moving my feet and it just works for me."
Because of the Jets playing six games in eight days, Paul Maurice has chosen to give players a chance to play this preseason that maybe wouldn't get the opportunity in years past. McKenzie took advantage of the minutes he was given, and Maurice compared the 20-year-old to a veteran member of the team who has a never-ending motor.
"I liked his game. He's got a bit of Matty Perreault in the way he plays," said Maurice. "That takes a while to develop. It took Matty Perreault awhile to get to that kind of player and that's a good little mentor for him in the organization. Matty Perreault can play on anybody's team. This guy is as good as a player in terms of his coaches love him, fans love him, his teammates love him and Skyler McKenzie that's a good player for him to watch and emulate."