International Ice Hockey Federation

Roslovic learning pro game

Roslovic learning pro game

Jets prospect could suit up at World Juniors

Published 25.04.2017 09:17 GMT-4 | Author Dhiren Mahiban
Roslovic learning pro game
Team USA’s Jack Roslovic (right) battles for the puck with Canada’s Matt Spencer at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. Photo: Francois Laplante / HHOF-IIHF Images
Talking to Jack Roslovic one might think the Winnipeg Jets prospect is having a difficult first season in the American Hockey League.

However, nothing could be further from the truth for the even-keel Columbus, Ohio native.

Roslovic, who joined the Jets’ AHL affiliate Manitoba Moose after one season of college hockey, is the team’s scoring leader with eight goals and 19 points after 25 games.

“My production is what it is,” Roslovic said, downplaying his success. “I look for team wins. I try to give my team a better chance to win and make a push. If (the points) come from me, it’s fine. If it comes by others, that's great.”

The centre was originally taken 25th overall by the Jets at the 2015 NHL Draft out of the U.S. National Development program. Roslovic spent last season playing at the University of Miami where he also took general studies in his freshman year.

With the RedHawks, as an 18-year-old, Roslovic scored 10 goals and 16 assists in 36 games. His 26 points was good for a share of the team lead. For his strong first season, he earned a spot on the National Collegiate Hockey Conference All-Rookie team and was a finalist for the NCHC Rookie of the Year award.

Roslovic was also named NCHC Rookie of the Month last October after posting five goals and eight points in eight games.

In July, Roslovic ended his college career signing a three-year, entry-level contract with the Jets. He could’ve joined the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights, but after an excellent showing at Winnipeg’s camp, he was assigned to the AHL affiliate where he’s adjusting to the new pace of play.

“It's different for sure. Faster, bigger, stronger (players),” Roslovic said. “The whole transition has been good, it's been something I've always wanted to do my whole life so I'm trying to work hard at it.”

His teammates have been quick to notice the work Roslovic puts into his game.

“He's been an unbelievable player here, he's a skilled player, a lot of speed, he's getting stronger - he's pretty strong for a young guy,” said Moose goaltender Eric Comrie. “It's unbelievable how skilled he is in practice, how hard he works. He's not just a skilled player who comes in here, has it all. He works on his game, comes in early, works on his shot. He's a student of the game and it's really exciting to see. I'm really happy for him, I know he can do big things.”

Early in his first pro season it’s evident why the Jets used a first-round pick on Roslovic. He has good acceleration in his skating and is able to play both centre and the wing. At just 182 pounds he’ll likely need to spend some of his time in Manitoba working on adding size to his 6-foot-1 frame.

Roslovic is also paying close attention to the style of play employed by coach Pascal Vincent and the Moose.

“We're playing similar systems to the Jets so just keeping my ear to the ground and really soaking in what the older guys are telling me,” said Roslovic.

For a 19-year-old Roslovic already has quite a bit of international success on his resume. At the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, he scored two goals and six points in six games helping the Americans take home gold.

Then at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, he scored six goals and five assists in seven games helping Team USA once again win gold.

“Really special,” Roslovic said of his international experience. “Something that I'll definitely remember for a long time, good group of guys and definitely a great time.”

With the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship on the horizon, Roslovic is almost certain to have a roster spot on Team USA.

“Obviously it's always a great honour to put on the USA jersey,” he said even though his focus was still on his AHL team prior to Team USA’s pre-tournament camp. “Just trying to make my game better and figure things out here at home.”

Part of figuring things out at home is what to do with his free time. For the first time he doesn’t have to worry about going to class or homework after hockey so Roslovic was trying to familiarize himself with his new city.

“The pro life is a lot different, no classes, no school work so I think it's just really focusing on hockey,” he said. “I'm figuring things out around town. It’s a really nice city, great fans and great people around there so I think I spend my time pretty wisely in Winnipeg.”

Roslovic has also been quick to learn the added benefit of having the Moose play in the same city as the Jets.

“It’s definitely an upper hand. Not a lot of teams have that advantage. It's very nice to see both sides, and coaches can talk face-to-face, it's good,” he said.

As for the message from the Jets’ brass?

“Get used to the pro game,” Roslovic said. “They want to keep a close eye on me, and I think they're just going to watch how I grow.”

If the Americans are to have success at the 2017 World Juniors and improve on their bronze-medal finish at last year’s tournament, Roslovic will likely be a key factor. The team conveys for the first time today in Buffalo where it will practise until Tuesday before heading north to Canada.


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