Continuing the league-wide trend, with the NHL’s 2020-21 campaign expected to begin sometime in December or January, the Winnipeg Jets have loaned another one of their top prospects overseas, allowing him to participate in live games over the next couple of months.
Despite spending his entire career in North America up to this point, the Jets announced forward Skyler McKenzie has been granted permission to play with the EHC Freiburg Wolves of the DEL2 for the 2020-21 campaign. But as part of this agreement, the 22-year old must return to Manitoba when hockey returns this winter.
The #NHLJets have loaned forward Skyler McKenzie to EHC Freiburg of the DEL2. Under the parameters of the agreement with EHC Freiburg, McKenzie will return when the 2020-21 season begins in North America.
— Winnipeg Jets PR (@WpgJetsPR) October 30, 2020
Selected by the Jets in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, McKenzie returned to the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL during the 2017-18 season and backed up his stellar results from his draft-eligible 2016-17 campaign where he produced 42 goals, 84 points, 0.58 goals per game, and 1.17 points per game through 72 contests.
Over his 72 games in 2017-18, the 5-foot-9 left-winger served as a crucial member of his team once again, recording 47 goals, 87 points, 0.65 goals per game, 1.21 points per game, along with 268 shots on net. Helping his club reach the conference semi-finals, the left-hander scored three goals, eight points, 0.25 goals per game, and 0.67 points per game through 12 postseason games.
Thanks to his strong showing with the Winterhawks, McKenzie was promoted to the Manitoba Moose for their 2017-18 playoff run, producing one goal through three games. Proving he was ready for the next level of competition, the Alberta native opened the following season in the AHL but struggled to replicate his strong production from his junior career.
Through his 47 games in 2018-19, the youngster generated just eight goals, 16 points, 0.17 goals per game, 0.34 points per game, 60 shots on net, along with 28 penalty minutes – easily the worst performance of his young career.
Despite the woes he faced in his first campaign with the Moose, McKenzie was able to perform a little more effectively during this past season and even enjoyed some success on the team’s power-play unit. As a result, the undersized forward witnessed a slight increase in his overall production during his second season in blue and white.
Over his 58 games in 2019-20, the goal-scoring winger created nine goals, 23 points, 0.16 goals per game, 0.4 points per game, 95 shots on net, a pair of power-play goals, and 18 penalty minutes.
Considering EHC Freiburg’s regular season doesn’t begin until Nov. 6, McKenzie still has some time to adjust to his new surroundings before taking part in his first live game since Mar. 8. But when he returns to North America, it’s expected the young winger will begin the 2020-21 campaign back in the AHL with the Moose.