Tonight's game between the Seattle Kraken and New York Islanders, the series finale in which the Kraken aim for a season sweep, won't be a new thing for new defenseman Jaycob Megna.
Though born in Plantation, Fla., a bulk of his time growing up was spent in the cold and blustery conditions of Chicago. It's obvious he knows a thing or two about packing appropriately for a cold weather road trip, and a warm weather road trip.
Except, sometimes, life comes at you fast. Like the one time he was traded in the middle of a Sharks trip to Tampa Bay, only two days ago. Here he is, set for his Kraken debut at UBS Arena, with road trip stops ahead at New Jersey, Madison Square Garden, Philadelphia, and Winnipeg.
"I had all t-shirts, bathing suits and shorts," said Megna. "I went to the store yesterday and bought a winter coat for Winnipeg - I saw on the last stop of this trip. I'm still going to be cold, but hopefully I can manage it."
Megna said he'll get a chance to gather more of his belongings when the Kraken visit San Jose in less than two weeks, another twist in a sudden turn of his career turn that has seen the lumbering, imposing, and physical defenseman at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds go from a team contending for the Connor Bedard sweepstakes to a team contending for their first Stanley Cup Playoff berth in franchise history, and tied for first place in the Pacific Division.
It only took a practice and a morning skate session to deem him ready for play. With 12 points in 48 games this season, he'll be paired with defenseman Carson Soucy. How does he plan to fit in?
"Just a lot of talk, helping each other out, and getting used to each other's tendencies," said Megna.
"It's not new. Being a hockey player, you're used to a lot of change."
Megna, who had a brief crossing of paths with Ryan Donato and tonight's starting Kraken goaltender, Martin Jones, in San Jose, won't be asked to change his game.
"We want him to come in and add to the group," said Hakstol. "He's a good two way defenseman, he defends well, moves the puck well, makes the first pass and he's willing to get up and support the play."
"Get in, get comfortable, just be who he is, bring the type of the game he's been playing all year into our group."
Though Hakstol said the entire assortment of line combinations and defensive pairings are closer to a game time decision, center Matty Beniers and left winger Jaden Schwartz have returned to skating activities this week. Beniers, after taking a blindside hit from defenseman Tyler Myers on Jan. 25, has missed the last two games and the All-Star Game. Schwartz, who has missed eight games with an undisclosed ailment, was last seen in the Jan. 12 win at Boston.
The Islanders, who beat the Flyers last night in a 2-1 victory, will roll out Bo Horvat to the masses at UBS Arena for the first time since his trade from Vancouver on Jan. 30. The Islanders are tied for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with the Pittsburgh Penguins, though Pittsburgh owns the tiebreaker.