WINNIPEG - While the Winnipeg Jets wait for injured players Adam Lowry, Brandon Tanev, Shawn Matthais and Jacob Trouba to return, young players like Jack Roslovic continue to show their versatility.
Roslovic has moved up and down the forward lines since being recalled from the Manitoba Moose on Dec. 30, and says his time with Pascal Vincent's group prepared for the NHL.
"It's a good thing when you play with everyone," said Roslovic after practice Saturday afternoon. "(In the AHL) there is a lot of movement in the line-up and the roster and that spreads out (the lines) a little bit."
"Filling in different roles, playing with different centre ice men dictates a lot how the line is going to play," explained Paul Maurice. "Over the course of the year, that (moving up and down the lines) happens to just about everyone in your line-up.
Video: PRACTICE | Jack Roslovic
"Opponents change, matchups change… that affects things. The thing I'm interested in at some point - not right now - is if he could play his off side (left wing). That would be the next phase as to how we could use him."
After Maurice shook up the lines ahead of Friday night's win over the Colorado Avalanche, Roslovic found himself on the right side of Bryan Little and Mathieu Perreault. The Columbus, Ohio product hasn't really had a chance to be fully acclimated to playing with the two veteran players, but he's learning on the fly.
"You mean the one game?" smiled Roslovic when he was asked about what he has learned from Little. "You can tell with all of our older guys, they are good pace pushers and they are good people to model your game after."
Video: PRACTICE | Paul Maurice
Little has either had one - or both - of speedy forwards 19-year-old Patrik Laine or 21-year-old Nikolaj Ehlers on his wings for the majority of this season. The Jets centre says there isn't much that has to change with any player that gets called up from the Moose anymore.
"I just think it shows the talent level and the depth we have in this organization," said Little. "When I first got here we didn't really have that. Now it seems like if we do get an injury, we get a guy from the Moose who can step in and be an effective player right away."
Video: PRACTICE | Bryan Little
Brandon Tanev (upper-body), Shawn Matthias (upper body), Michael Hutchinson (concussion), and Steve Mason (concussion) all skated today before the Jets held their full practice.
Adam Lowry (upper-body) and Jacob Trouba (lower-body) have yet to hit the ice since their injuries.
Jets coach Paul Maurice said both Tanev and Matthias felt "quite a bit stronger" and that both goaltenders (Mason and Hutchinson) are getting closer to facing pucks again and that could be as early as next week.
Defenceman Toby Enstrom took a maintenance day and was the only member from last night's line-up to not take part of practice Saturday. So the lines looked like this:
Maurice says that Connor Hellebuyck will get the start in goal against the Florida Panthers on Sunday night, and will likely close out the home stand against the Kings on Tuesday.
"He's in a rhythm and we're at home, and it's not at all the same type of fatigue issues," explained Maurice. "We have days off and he takes morning skates off as well. So the frequency he's actually hitting the ice and stopping pucks we have way down. The mental part of carrying it is good for him to go through it now, but when we get to March, we'll be using both goaltenders."