A pair of Manitobans are projected to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft when it gets underway on Tuesday.
Brandon defenceman Daemon Hunt and Winnipeg forward Seth Jarvis are both ranked in the top 25 among North American skaters after Jarvis shot up the draft board last season.
For Jarvis, his timing couldn’t have been any better. The 18-year-old right winger of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks nearly tripled his scoring output in his draft year.
Jarvis went from 16 goals to 42 tallies, while improving his point total from 39 points to 98 points all while playing in less games.
“It felt like everything really took another step in my game,” Jarvis said. “And I think I really developed my game into a big way, and then I think everything started to really click and the numbers started following.
“I was able to just put the puck in a little bit more. I got more opportunity to shoot the puck and play with a lot more confidence.”
And his success reflected in his draft ranking, which saw him rocket up from 19th to the 11th ranked North American skater in the span of just half a season.
“I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” he said. “And so that’s finally less than a week away — it’s exciting.”
Jarvis, who models his game after the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Brayden Point, has been fielding phone calls from all sorts of NHL teams, and so far, the questions have been pretty standard.
“A lot of teams contacting me just to talk to me and stuff like that,” said Jarvis. “Just asking about my family and kinda my upbringing, but no, luckily for me not too many weird ones.”
But with the COVID-19 pandemic, the draft will be held virtually, and Jarvis will miss out on the chance of being called up to the big stage.
“Everyone dreams of going on stage and getting that photo and shaking hands with the commissioner,” he said.
“But, I mean getting drafted is the same either way, whether you’re on a stage, or at home. So, this way I get to spend it more with my friends and family.”
With Jarvis ranked 11th, that’s right around the spot where his hometown Winnipeg Jets will select in the first round as they hold the 10th overall pick.
“I grew up a huge Jets fan,” Jarvis said. “So I think having the chance to be drafted by a hometown team would be incredible.
“I think everyone knows how great the fans are here and how passionate we all are about hockey, so to join an organization like that would be incredible.”
Manitoban’s on Central Scouting’s final draft rankings
11. Forward Seth Jarvis – Winnipeg (Portland Winterhawks)
25. Defenceman Daemon Hunt – Brandon (Moose Jaw Warriors)
86. Forward Tristen Robins – Brandon (Saskatoon Blades)
153. Forward Ben McCartney – Macdonald (Brandon Wheat Kings)
167. Forward Carter Loney – Winnipeg (Steinbach Pistons)