Despite winger Patrik Laine finding himself on the fourth line for a second straight game, Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice came to his player’s defense today. The 20-year-old Laine has just one even-strength point so far this season, prompting Maurice to swap Mathieu Perreault with Laine on Friday in their 2-1 win over Detroit. The move had few ramifications towards Laine’s numbers as he still managed to play 17:08 throughout the game. Yet the coach was quick to defend him.
“He’s 20,” Maurice said (via TSN’s Mark Masters). “He’s going to keep getting better…We need him to continue. He’s 20 & just learning the game.”
Maurice said the main goal of making the switch between Laine and Perrault was that Perrault was “buzzing” and he wanted to give the veteran a bigger role, pointing out that the power play (with Laine) was still “outstanding.”
- Sticking with Jets, the Winnipeg Sun’s Ted Wyman reports that the recall of Tucker Poolman is expected to be the last roster move before the team travels to Finland for their two-game global series with the Florida Panthers. That means that 19-year-old Finn Kristian Vesalainen, the team’s 2017 first-rounder, won’t be going on the trip then as he remains with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. He has four assists in two games there, but still hasn’t been brought back to Winnipeg.
- Mark Stepneski of NHL.com writes that Dallas Stars winger Jason Dickinson has seen his confidence soar in the last week and is starting to show that he can provide some of that secondary scoring the team desperately needs. The team has gotten 15 of its 19 goals this season from four players, including Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, John Klingberg and Alexander Radulov. However, Dickinson showed some impressive play last Tuesday, although all he got out of it was an assist. However, he followed that up Thursday with a two goal, three-point night, showing he can put up numbers. “I think it’s been building since training camp,” head coach Jim Montgomery said. “For a player to start to gain confidence in this league, it’s not easy. We thought he had a really good training camp and then the season started with a bit of inconsistency, but you’re starting to see it build.”
- The Chicago Tribune’s Jimmy Greenfield writes that Chicago Blackhawks forward Alexandre Fortin is starting to find his place on the Blackhawks’ roster. The 21-year-old has two goals and an assist over the past four games, and while head coach Joel Quenneville keeps changing lines on him, but the coach likes Fortin’s speed a little more than his defensive deficiencies. “(Defense) is a work in progress, but it’s been a good start for him,” Quenneville said. “It’s been a positive beginning because his speed has definitely been a big factor.”