Ryan Pilon is ready to take the training wheels off.
The spotlight is expected to shine on the Brandon defenceman during the 2014-2015 campaign for a couple of reasons.
First, the 18-year old Pilon is likely to have a larger role with the Wheat Kings than he did a year ago while the Duck Lake, Saskatchewan product is also in his draft year and is already being touted as a possible top-40 pick in June's NHL Draft.
"You just have to go out there and play your game...nothing should change," said Pilon after Wednesday's practice, "I definitely have to take on a bigger role in the dressing room and around the rink and stuff, have that presence, but on the ice nothing's changed."
Pilon admitted to feeling a little uncomfortable in being tabbed the #1 defencemen last season while still with Lethbridge, one of the reasons he asked for a trade away from the Hurricanes.
He was acquired by Brandon in a mid-November deal and spent the remainder of the 2013-2014 season playing under the wing of a veteran Wheat Kings' defence core, including his regular partner in former Wheat Kings' captain Ryan Pulock.
"Having that year under my belt, playing with (Pulock), Roy and Hunter, just playing under them," said Pilon, "Coming into this season, I really want to take on that role and I just really want to show the coaches that they can trust in me to do that."
On of the other benefits for Pilon entering this season is that he is playing under the same coaching staff as he was a year ago, the first time that's happened in his Western Hockey League career.
"I think that's a huge advantage coming into this year, knowing our foundation and what we're made of and what Kelly (McCrimmon) believes in," said Pilon, "Coming into that, it's really excited and looks really promising."
Pilon has been paired with Russian import Ivan Provorov during the pre-season, which could be a plus for NHL scouts.
Provorov is also being billed as a possible first round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Chaff...the Saskatoon Blades acquired defenceman Isaac Schacher, 19, from the Regina Pats Wednesday for an eighth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft...the Pats also unveiled an updated version of their familiar logo Wednesday.
I have been the voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Sports Director at CKLQ Radio in Brandon since 1993.
The purpose of my blog is to provide you with up-to-date Wheat Kings' news and items.
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