Wild winger Connor Dewar sure looks like he’s here to stay
He scored the first goal of his NHL career in Monday’s 8-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Wild winger Connor Dewar has come a long way since his NHL debut a few months ago.
With the Wild battling through some COVID issues at that time, Dewar got called up ahead of the Oct. 28 game against the Seattle Kraken. He played sparingly that night, looked tentative for prolonged stretches, and after about a week, got sent back down to the minors for more seasoning.
In hindsight, it was the best thing for Dewar’s development. He rebuilt his confidence in the minors, and after being recalled a few weeks ago, Dewar has made a noticeable impact.
Not only has he quickly established himself as a spark plug in the bottom half of the lineup, the 24-year-old winger scored the first goal of his NHL career in Monday’s 8-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
“Every game I want to grow,” Dewar said. “This is big for my development right now. I just want to take advantage of it.”
For the past few weeks, Dewar has been skating alongside center Nico Sturm and opposite winger Brandon Duhaime. He grinded through the minors with both players, so the fact that they are sharing a line at the highest level is something he’s not taking for granted.
“We used to joke about, ‘When we’re in the league,’ ” Dewar said with a smile. “I thought it was very fitting that they were the first guys to hug me when I scored.”
Then, just 22 seconds after Dewar’s goal, he assisted on Sturm’s goal near the crease. That helped the Wild bust the game wide open.
“It’s cool,” Sturm said. “That’s kind of the group that I came up with. You’re just happy for each other. You see the adversity that we had to go through to get up here.”
Looking specifically at Dewar, his path hasn’t been easy. He has never been viewed as a blue-chip prospect after being selected in the third round of the 2018 NHL Draft.
“I was down in Iowa a couple of years ago and there were some nights when he wasn’t even in the lineup,” Sturm said. “To see how far he’s come and how hard he’s worked, I couldn’t be happier for him. To be a part of that goal makes me proud.”
As Wild coach Dean Evason loves to say, “Everybody’s got a different route to get here.” If anyone would know, it’s Evason. He coached in the minors for a long time before getting his shot in the NHL.
As for Dewar, while he admitted that he was awestruck a few months ago during his NHL debut, he’s proving that he belongs at the highest level now.
“I’m here to help this team win a Stanley Cup,” he said. “My goal was to win a Calder Cup in Des Moines. If I’m up here, I want to win a Stanley Cup. That’s what I wake up and try to do every day.”