Everett Silvertips coach Dennis Williams was planning to carve pumpkins Thursday night.
Then, he got a call from Connor Dewar.
“I had to give that up tonight,” Williams said. “The first thing we were doing was trying to get tickets.”
Dewar was in the Minnesota Wild lineup Thursday for its game against the Kraken, making his NHL debut while the team dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak. Mats Zuccarello and Rem Pitlick were added to the team’s COVID list before the morning skate, and Dewar was one of three forwards recalled from AHL Iowa.
It’s an odd way to be thrust into an NHL debut, but it’s more common in the age of pandemic hockey.
“Yeah it’s kind of funny the way it works out, and life comes full circle,” Dewar told reporters after the morning skate. “I’m really excited for today.”
Dewar, 22, spent four seasons with the Silvertips, including in 2018-19 as the captain. He was the Wild’s third-round draft pick in 2018 and that season posted a career-high 81 points.
He spent the past two seasons with Iowa, where he put up 23 points in 31 games a year ago.
Williams said he spoke of Dewar’s debut with the current Silvertips team Thursday morning, and the path he took to the NHL.
“He’s earned everything,” said Williams, who coached Dewar in three of his four years with the Silvertips. “Every opportunity has come from his hard work and dedication. For him to be able to play his first game, here in the Pacific Northwest against the Kraken, you’ll probably see a lot of Silvertips jerseys.”
Williams described Dewar as a hard-nosed player who can drive to the net, has a strong work ethic and can score goals.
“I think I play a really mature style,” Dewar said. “I play both ends of the ice, and I have good feet and a good stick. I think that will help out a lot.”
Dewar said he got the call at 4:30 p.m. Central time Wednesday after skating in Iowa and arrived in Seattle late Wednesday night.
He didn’t know he’d be in the lineup until arriving at Climate Pledge Arena for the morning skate. One of the first things he did was inform his coaches and billet families from his time in Everett.
It’s rewarding for Dewar and the Silvertips, who last saw an NHL debut from Garrett Pilon with the Capitals in May.
“We’re trying to produce players to the National Hockey League,” Williams said. “It’s even more special for a kid like Connor, who spent a lot of his time in the Pacific Northwest, then got drafted to Minnesota, not far from his home in Manitoba. … Now he gets to play 20 minutes from where he played a lot of junior hockey games.”
Donato faces former club
Ryan Donato has a few revenge games this season. The forward played for three teams before joining the Kraken — Boston, Minnesota and San Jose — and on Thursday night he faced the team he’s had the most success against.
In 10 career games against the Wild entering Thursday, Donato had six points. He said he hopes Seattle sticks as his fourth hockey home in five seasons.
“The opportunity seems like it’s here,” he said. “I don’t think if you talk to any guy in the league, I don’t think they want to bounce around more than one or two teams. Trying to find a home is definitely a thing.”
Donato, who scored the first goal in Kraken history on opening night in Las Vegas, has moved around the lineup with Seattle and was a scratch for the home opener. He has averaged 13:10 of ice time per game, his most since spending the second half of the 2018-19 season with Minnesota.
When facing a former team — a revenge game — there can be a little more energy for some players.
“I’ve played them a couple of times now,” he said. “Every time you play an ex-team with some ex-teammates, you always want to bring a little extra.”
Mason Appleton was out after suffering an injury Tuesday against Montreal. Nathan Bastian replaced him in the lineup.
Carson Soucy, the Kraken expansion draft pick from the Wild, was scratched for the second consecutive game.