Update: Jack Nevins signs with Montreal Canadiens

Jason Malloy
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Jack Nevins has come a long way since training camp started in August.

He earned one of three overage positions with the Charlottetown Islanders, was named captain in October and Tuesday morning signed a three-year deal through 2015-16 with the Montreal Canadiens.

“If you would have told me I would have been signing an NHL deal in December, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Nevins admitted after the deal became public. “It’s a great day for me and it’s great news. I am just having a tough time wiping the smile off my face.”

Nevins bounced between three Ontario Hockey League (OHL) teams in two seasons before being released by the London Knights. The then P.E.I. Rocket contacted Nevins’ agent Jim Bursey and the 19-year-old joined the team in November 2012. Bursey is an uncle of Islanders winger Matt Bursey.

Nevins said his parents and sister have played a crucial role in his success.

“They supported me through my whole hockey career since I was little, have done everything they could to give me this opportunity,” he said.

Nevins said he has played with good linemates all season and the NHL contract wouldn’t have been possible without his teammates and staff support.

People knew last year that Nevins was a tough customer. He has continued that this season — he leads the league with 85 penalty minutes in 30 games — but it’s the other side of the game that has surprised some.

Not coach Gordie Dwyer and general manager Grant Sonier.

“They believed in me since the first day in camp,” Nevins said.

“Grant instilled a lot of confidence in me and Gordie has put me    in a different role this year and I have been able to excel in it.”

He has 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in 30 games.

Dwyer and Sonier credit Nevins’ success to hard work.

“His compete level and character have provided him with this great opportunity,” Dwyer said. “He is a great example to not only his teammates, but to all players who play the game.”

And don’t expect Nevins to get complacent now with his dream of making the NHL a step closer.

“This is just the start,” he said.

“I have a lot of work to do if I want to get there.”

His skating and puck skills are two areas he wants to continue to improve while making sure he plays a complete game.

Nevins will finish the season with the Islanders before turning pro.

It could lead to him sharing a dressing room again with former Rocket Ben Duffy. This summer he signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Canadiens’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate. Duffy was recently sent down to the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL where he is teammates with former Rocket tough guy Patrick McGrath.

Nevins, who grew up in the Ottawa suburb of Stittsville, Ont., said he had two offers on the table with the second being from the Ottawa Senators.

“It was one of the toughest decision I’ve had to make,” Nevins said.

“I had a lot of respect for that organization growing up and that being my hometown.

“In the end I thought Montreal showed the most interest in me from the start of the year and thought it was the best fit for me as a player.”

So the Senators were his favourite team growing up?

Not exactly. So who was?

“I don’t know if I should say,” Nevins said. “Toronto Maple Leafs. Not any more. I hate them now.”

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Jack Nevins

Team – Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL).

Hometown – Stittsville, Ont.

Age – 20.

Size – Six-foot-two, 205 pounds.

Jersey number – 18.

Position – Left wing.

Statistics –

Season    Team    GP    G    A    Pts        PIM

2013-14    Ch’town    30    11    19    30            85

2012-13    P.E.I.    51    8    7    15          103

2012-13    London    2    0    0    0    0

2011-12    Kingston    23    1    5    6    25

2011-12    Sarnia    36    4    1    5    60

Organizations: Montreal Canadiens, Ontario Hockey League

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Stittsville

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