Professional hockey careers have begun for a pair of Western Hockey League (WHL) players who call North Delta home.
Nic Petan of the Portland Winterhawks and goaltender Tristan Jarry of the Edmonton Oil Kings were selected in the second round of Sunday’s National Hockey League Draft in Newark, New Jersey.
Petan was selected 43rd overall by the Winnipeg Jets, while Jarry was chosen by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the 44th selection. Both are expected to return to their WHL teams next season, before turning pro for the 2014-15 campaign.
Petan, 18, tied for the WHL scoring lead with teammate Brendan Leipsic. In 71 games played, Petan scored 46 goals and added a league-best 74 assists for 120 points. He easily surpassed his preseason target of 30 goals, and more than tripled his total of 14 scored in his rookie season last year.
What might have discouraged some teams from selecting Petan earlier is his size, listed as 5’8” and 165 pounds on nhl.com
“He’s a very, very skilled player, he’s someone who was ranked extremely high on a lot of lists,” said Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. “His size is something you look at and go huh?
“But his hockey sense, his ability to make other players better and the way he sees the ice… he’s a fun player to watch.”
Petan admits his size is a concern, but doesn’t see it as an obstacle.
“I’ve overcome it at every level, and look forward to the challenge. It doesn’t matter how good you are, you have to work hard,” he said on Draft Day, admitting the hard work starts in the summer. “I have to put on the pounds a little bit, definitely work on my faceoff and shot and little details like that. I have a big summer ahead of me and I’m looking forward to it.”
The Penguins had targeted Jarry as a future goalie and made a trade to move up in the draft order to make sure the netminder would be available.
Pittsburgh sent picks No. 50 and 89 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, then took Jarry with their first selection.
“We see a potential starting goalie,” Randy Sexton, the Penguins’ assistant director of amateur scouting, told nhl.com “He’s got the technical foundation and the size we think to be a starter.”
Jarry, also 18, played 27 games for the Oil Kings, topping the WHL with a 1.61 goals against average and a .936 save percentage. His six shutouts was just one shy of the league lead, despite playing a backup role.
In his second full season in Edmonton, Jarry was one-half of the league’s best goaltending tandem, partnering with Cloverdale’s Laurent Brossoit, who signed with the Calgary Flames of the NHL earlier this year.
“(Jarry) didn’t get a lot of ice time this year … but he will be the starter next year,” Sexton said. “We’d like to see him play at least 45-50 games.”
Jarry is looking forward to next season, and a career with the Penguins.
“I think it will be fun for me,” Jarry said. “It will see what I can do and give me a chance to take the ball and run with it.”