Tyson Jost feeling at home with Minnesota Wild
The former UND center says he misses his time in college every day.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — It didn't take long for Tyson Jost to feel at home in Minnesota.
After Jost was traded from the Colorado Avalanche to the Minnesota Wild last week, he immediately started hearing from his old UND teammates who live in the area.
Trevor Olson sent him a message. Dixon Bowen planned a trip to come see him. Gage Ausmus, now the owner of a moving company in the Twin Cities, texted Jost and said, "If you need help moving, you know the guy."
"It's pretty funny," Jost said. "I said to those guys, we've got to get together soon. It's so cool that I'm right next door. It just helps me feel more at home. So, I'm excited."
After playing 321 regular-season games across four-and-a-half seasons for the Avalanche, the center from Alberta will get a new start with the Wild.
Jost made his Wild debut during Minnesota's 4-2 win over Boston last Wednesday. He also helped Minnesota beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 on Saturday afternoon in the Xcel Energy Center.
"It's awesome," Jost said. "I'm really excited. I'm excited for what the future holds and to be here next door to NoDak, too. I've got tons of friends here — great, close, family friends who I have built connections with — and a lot of them are around this area. So, it kind of feels like a home away from home. I'm really happy to be back here and part of the Wild organization."
Jost played just one season at UND, tallying 16 goals and 35 points in 33 games during 2016-17. He notably scored two goals against Boston College during UND's destination game in New York City's Madison Square Garden.
The No. 10 overall draft pick in 2016 signed with Colorado six days after UND's season ended in a double overtime loss to Boston University in the NCAA regional.
"Leaving NoDak was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had," Jost said. "Not a lot of people know this, but I really pondered over it and struggled with that decision. I even look back on it and you obviously have the what-ifs. I just had such a good relationship with those guys down there. I miss my time there so much. I can't express enough how much fun I had at NoDak. Honestly, I miss it every day still. It's just such a cool experience."
Jost said even though he achieved a childhood dream by playing in the NHL — he debuted a week after the end of UND's season — it was a difficult call to turn pro.
"I definitely struggled with the decision coming out of NoDak after one year," Jost said. "There were a lot of sleepless nights. 'What should I do?' I guess you can't really look back and wonder 'what if.' You can't have that mentality. You have to keep looking forward and do what you can to get better, but yeah, it was definitely a tough decision and I'm very happy for my time I had there, and all the friends and great memories I had there."
Jost was often buried in Colorado's stacked forward lineup and played limited minutes, but could see a larger opportunity with the Wild.
Jost centered the fourth line Saturday against Chicago, where he played against fellow former UND player Jonathan Toews.
"He was the guy I looked up to as a younger player when I was trying to make my way up to the NHL," Jost said. "That was one of the reasons I went to NoDak, too. I talked to him a little bit and whatnot. I remember playing my first couple NHL games against Chicago and just looking up and trying to take faceoffs against him was pretty cool, for sure.
"He's someone I admire a lot. What he's done is pretty spectacular. He's a world-class player and I've heard, a person, too."
Jost said he's tried to model his off-the-ice dedication after Toews. On the ice, he's worked to be a well-rounded, all-situation player.
The Wild are already using Jost in defensive roles — five-on-six and penalty killing.
"He's a very good offensively player, too," Jost said of Toews. "That's something I'm going to grow in my game, and I think here in Minny, I'm going to have a really good opportunity to do that."
The potential for an expanded opportunity is one reason Jost is looking forward to a fresh start with the Wild. He's been a big offensive producer at all other levels, including in college.
The other source of excitement for Jost is the opportunity to catch up with some old UND friends in Minnesota — and across the NHL.
"It's kind of funny, some of the guys I didn't play with — like (Nick) Schmaltz or (Drake) Caggiula — when you see them, you just have that bond," Jost said. "That's pretty cool. It's a special place, for sure."