Four of the five Winnipeg Jets’ trade deadline acquisitions arrived in the city in time for Tuesday’s morning skate as a new team took to the ice for the first time.
“It feels like the first day of training camp right now, all these new faces,” forward Mark Scheifele said.
Newcomers Kevin Hayes, Nathan Beaulieu and Par Lindholm joined their new team after hectic travel days. But they’re still not all on a first-name basis yet.
“Everyone has been super welcoming here,” Hayes said. “Met a lot of people today, and I don’t know everyone’s name but I’m sure that will come.”
It was the first time Hayes has been traded in his five-year pro career, but the towering six-five centre is thrilled about the prospects of a long playoff run.
“Back in playoff contention, which is kind of nice,” Hayes said. “To come to a team that’s as good as this team and has a serious chance here, it’s really exciting.”
WATCH: Kevin Hayes interview
Beaulieu, 26, has been in Buffalo the past two seasons, but after starting his career with the Montreal Canadiens, he’s glad to be back in a hockey-mad city.
“Back in front of a Canadian market,” Beaulieu said. “I’m really excited for this opportunity.”
WATCH: Nathan Beaulieu interview
“He’s got some bite to his game,” head coach Paul Maurice said.” I’ve always liked that. In the nights that we’ve played against him, he’s gotten one or two pretty good hits.”
And 37-year-old Matt Hendricks is back in the fold after an eight-month stint as a member of the Minnesota Wild. Barring injuries, Hendricks’ biggest contribution will be leadership. It’s a role he says he’s comfortable with.
“If that warrants an opportunity to play then, obviously, I accept it,” Hendricks said. “And if I get into the game and I perform well, I want to stay in the lineup. But if that stuff isn’t happening and guys are performing better than me, then I’m going to have their back 100 per cent.
With this team now all-in, the focus switches from the usual draft-and-develop model.
“We can get a little older for a couple months,” Maurice said. “We buy a few more razors for the locker room and away we go.”
WATCH: Paul Maurice interview