How did the newest member of the Carolina Hurricanes take his mind off of arguably the biggest day of his young life?
“I went to the gym and just got away from it a little bit just to clear my head,” said Seth Jarvis, the Portland Winterhawks goal-scorer who was selected 13th overall Tuesday night in the 2020 NHL Draft.
That should be music to workout-loving Rod Brind’Amour’s ears, but the coach and the rest of the organization will be happiest if Jarvis can turn the 42 goals and 98 points he had in just 58 Western Hockey League games last season into production at the NHL level down the road.
“We talk about players that have lots of tools but not the toolbox …. but he’s got the mind to think the game and make the plays,” Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said.
Jarvis seems to fit the DNA of a team that, since Brind’Amour took the reins, is committed to building a roster filled with hard-working players. If there’s one knock on Jarvis, it’s the thing he can’t control: at 5-foot-10 and 172 pounds, he is undersized — especially if he’s going to be a center down the road.
But as the Tampa Bay Lightning proved with Brayden Point — the player Jarvis says he tries to “model my game after” — the new-age NHL isn’t about broad shoulders and towering over the opposition.
“With Rod coaching, we want to play a very fast-paced game, and that’s the way our team has been built and that’s the way we play,” Waddell said. “So speed, to me and to Rod, is very important if you’re going to play that style of game.”
Jarvis checks that box — and several others, including being a needed right-handed forward — for a Carolina team looking to add more firepower to its forward ranks. The 18-year-old from Winnipeg, however, credits his jump from 16 goals and 39 points to becoming the WHL’s No. 2 scorer with his mental approach rather than his physical maturity.
“A lot of it didn’t come on the ice,” Jarvis said. “It was in my head and, mentally, I think I just played with a lot more confidence. … I just wasn’t afraid to go out there and make mistakes and not afraid to try some new things.
“I think when you start getting successful with it, I think momentum follows. You start riding that kind of wave of momentum and good things start to happen.”
Momentum is tough to maintain by at the moment since most leagues in North America are not currently playing. Jarvis, who cannot play in the AHL as an 18-year-old, will likely spend the 2020-21 season back with Portland in the WHL, but the league is not scheduled to start up until Dec. 4. The NHL, meanwhile, announced Tuesday that the league and the NHL Players Association have targeted Jan. 1 for the start of the 2020-21 season.
The draft, which is being held remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, continues tomorrow at 11:30 a.m., and Carolina holds seven picks in the final six rounds. That includes two second-round picks (Nos. 41 and 53), one selection each in the third (No. 69), fourth (No. 115) and fifth (No. 140) rounds, and two choices in the seventh round (Nos. 199 and 208).