Tonight is the night David Gustafsson has been waiting for.
- The 19-year-old will suit up in his first NHL game as the Winnipeg Jets (4-3-0) host the Arizona Coyotes tonight at Bell MTS Place – and the young centre couldn’t be more excited.
“I got the news during breakfast, so it was a special feeling,” said Gustafsson. “It’s going to be a big day. This is the thing you’ve been dreaming of since you were a little kid.
“I’m excited for the night.”
- Gustafsson, selected in the second round of the 2018 NHL Draft, said his parents won’t be able to make it to Winnipeg from Sweden in time to see the debut, but the phone call he had with them was quite memorable.
“Both my parents started crying. It was an emotional reaction from them,” he said. “My parents have always been there for me. My dad was the one who introduced me to hockey and was the one that took me to the rink when I was five years old. My mom has always been supportive of me with every decision I make, so they’ve been a big part of this.”
- When the Jets selected him, he wasn’t known for his offence. Gustafsson had two goals and 12 points in 36 games with HV71 in the Swedish Hockey League last season, then added another three assists in five games at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
“Most of these kids get here on having scored a bunch and get drafted real high because they’re real good offensive players. He’s got a real good defensive stick and a real quick pick up on the reads,” said Jets head coach Paul Maurice. “He’d be behind it on the first couple exhibition games, only by about a foot and a half. Then you can see it in practice and the games that he’s starting to pick that up real quick.”
- The rookie will skate on a line with Gabriel Bourque and Mason Appleton, while the rest of the Jets line rushes looked like this on Tuesday morning:
Sources & Credits: Mitchell Clinton / WinnipegJets.com, Winnipeg Jets