By Tim Pigulski
Much of the focus in T-Birds circles has been around super prospect Mathew Barzal, but Seattle’s other first-round pick, Keegan Kolesar, certainly has the potential to be an impact player in his own right.
We got a brief look at his skill when the 15-year-old forward was called up for one game earlier this season. In limited ice time Kolesar impressed, especially on one play where he bulled through two Portland defenders and nearly scored but was robbed by Winterhawks goalie Mac Carruth.
I checked in with Kolesar shortly after his brief call-up, which was at the midpoint of his midget season, and was able to chat with him again during the first intermission of Seattle’s 4-0 game four loss to Kelowna.
Tim Pigulski: Talk about how your team has done since we last checked in at mid-season.
Keegan Kolesar: We gelled more as a team as the season went on but didn’t end up in first place. We had a lot of players injured and never really had a full roster until the end of the season, but we still only finished one point out of first place behind the Winnipeg Wild.
Tim: Have you had a chance to follow the series between Seattle and Kelowna? What are your thoughts so far?
Keegan: My family is close with Evan Wardley’s and we’ve been keeping in touch. I’ve been checking all of the box scores and following on Twitter, too. [Tuesday] night’s game I was able to watch online and was very excited with the outcome. Seeing Wardley get the game-winning goal was great.
Tim: Being physical and aggressive has worked well for the T-Birds in this series. Talk about your style of play and how it fits in with what you’ve seen.
Keegan: It’s a simple physical style of play – getting pucks in deep, finishing your checks, and getting the puck on net. It’s the type of game I try to play, too. They aren’t getting too fancy and are just trying to get their job done.
Tim: You signed pretty quickly in the offseason. Was it nice to get that off of your back and just be able to focus on hockey?
Keegan: Yeah, I felt that it was much easier to just get signed and get it over with. I was pretty confident that the WHL is the route that I wanted to take.
Tim: What do you have planned training-wise this offseason to help you prepare for the speed and style of the WHL game?
Keegan: I’ve taken into consideration what Coach Konowalchuk and Russ Farwell have said and I’ve been working with a personal trainer, Jeff Fisher, who is one of the most sought after trainers in Winnipeg. I’m also working with a former NHL player, Dave Cameron, who played in the WHL for the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He’s been helping me a lot with on-ice, one-on-one type situations.
Tim: How much do you wish you could be out there playing right now?
Keegan: I’m hoping I get my chance out there. Watching the game and the emotion involved, I’ve been talking to [current T-Bird] Michal Holub about it and he’s been getting my tires pumped. It’s good to be here and get the experience. I’m fine with not playing but I hope my time comes.
Follow Tim on Twitter @tpigulski