Tyson Jost didn't factor into the Wild's power play much after a March trade from Colorado, but he's making a case to be a regular this season.
The forward scored twice while the Wild had a man advantage on Tuesday in a 5-2 exhibition win over the Avalanche to boost his audition for a power play that's getting revamped at training camp.
"Each time you go out on the ice, you're trying to make a point and prove what you can do," said Jost, who was back in action on Thursday when the Wild continued their preseason prep at Dallas. "That's all I'm trying to do — kind of make a statement."
Jost certainly accomplished that with his pair of power play goals.
His first came after he crashed the Colorado crease and redirected in a Sam Steel feed despite an Avalanche defender standing between him and the net. Then, later in the first period, he converted again when he collected his own rebound in the slot and patiently lifted the puck over the goaltender's pad.
"I know now that it's an opportunity to showcase my skill and what I can do," said Jost, who tallied two goals and four assists in 21 games while skating mostly lower in the lineup after he was acquired on March 15 in exchange for Nico Sturm. "I was happy with how [Tuesday] went."
But Jost wasn't the only one to capitalize.
Nic Petan, who signed a two-way contract in the offseason, tacked on a third power play marker in the second period of Tuesday's tune-up. Add in a Calen Addison point shot in the Wild's preseason debut, and the power play has been more helpful than hurtful — a turnaround from a ho-hum 20.5% efficiency in 2021-22 that included 1-for-23, 1-for-20 and 4-for-32 skids before a 4-for-24 rut in the playoffs.
"Where we got a little bit hurt last year is just the standing still, trying to really not move people's PKs around [and] get them uncomfortable," winger Marcus Foligno said. "I thought we let PKs set up on us a lot. I think we're going to try to see a lot more speed on our attack."
Still, it's important to keep these early returns in perspective; the Wild have yet to trot out their expected lineup and neither have any of their opponents.
What is worth focusing on is who is converting on their looks, because the most significant tweak the Wild are forecasting for the power play is to their personnel.
"One hundred percent there's opportunities for people to play on our power play this year," coach Dean Evason said. "We didn't have success, so we have to change."
Cue the likes of Jost, whose profile was already on the rise since he's penciled in to play alongside Foligno and Joel Eriksson Ek while the injured Jordan Greenway heals up.
And that's another type of competition at camp: aside from players jostling for roster spots, there's also a battle to take on additional responsibility.
"I do definitely want more of an elevated role," Jost said. "I want to take a step in my game, for sure. That's something I worked hard for, and I've kind of wanted that my last three or four years.
"So, yeah, it's a big opportunity for me, and I want to take advantage of it."