By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
SUNRISE, Fla. — The Winnipeg Jets 2015 NHL draft has a distinctly American flavour so far.
Winnipeg selected centre Kyle Connor 17th overall on Friday before taking centre Jack Roslovic eight picks later.
The six-foot Roslovic played his amateur hockey with the United States under-18 team, while the six-foot-one Connor played for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League.
“Every night in the USHL, it’s a different team that can win,” said Connor shortly after being drafted. “It’s such a competitive league. It grew me as a person and a player.”
Connor, from Shelby Township, Mich., led all players in the USHL with 80 points (34 goals, 46 assists) last season and has committed to the University of Michigan for 2015-16.
“I like to play with a lot of speed and skill,” said Connor when asked to describe his playing style. “Quick and play with a fast pace but also has the ability to slow the game down as well.”
Roslovic, from Columbus, Ohio, also has a scoring touch. He ranked fourth on the U.S. U18 team with 25 goals and 52 assists in 2014-15. He also scored the tying goal for the Americans in the third period of their eventual 2-1 overtime win over Finland in the final of the most recent under-18 world junior championship.
The Jets sent forwards Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian as well as the rights to Jason Kasdorf to the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 11 for the No. 25 pick, which eventually became Roslovic. Winnipeg also got Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux in that deal.
Like Connor, Roslovic has committed to a local school, the Miami University RedHawks, next season.
The Jets have six more picks left in the draft, with one in each of the second, third and fourth rounds. They’ll select again in the sixth and then twice in the seventh.