Memorial Cup: the Remparts will have to keep an eye on Olen Zellweger
KAMLOOPS | If he is not the best defenseman in the entire Canadian Hockey League, he is not far from the to be: the Quebec Remparts will have to make sure to have an eye on Olen Zellweger, of the Kamloops Blazers, during their first game of the competition, Friday evening.
Fans of the World Junior Hockey Championship know something about this, since Zellweger acted as quarterback for the Canadian team during the two gold conquests in a few months, last August and January.
Traded to the Blazers during the holiday season, Zellweger finished the WHL playoffs second in league scoring with 29 points in 14 games, without even making the final. “He is one of the best defenders in Canada, he is extremely good, assured Nathan Gaucher, who rubbed shoulders with him at the two world juniors. Defensively, he has small gaps and that's how we can get him.
” He's very fast and if you give him space, he'll do something magical and take your pants off. You have to reduce his space, hit him, be physical with him and play in his zone.”
Zellweger was also part of the game plan for the Remparts and head coach Patrick Roy , Thursday morning.
“ We talked about it with the guys, it’s like a striker, assured the former goalkeeper of the Canadian. You will have to spend time in his zone because that is perhaps where he is least effective. From the moment he carries the puck, it's as if they have a fourth attacker on the ice. […] He is one of the best defensemen in Canada. ”
To acquire him, the Kamloops Blazers offered a veritable golden bridge to the Everett Silvertips during the trade period: four players and ten draft picks, including four first-rounders. The Blazers also got their hands on forward Ryan Hofer in the trade.
“His impact on our team has been major, acknowledged the head coach and general manager of the Blazers, Shaun Clouston. He had good numbers before we acquired him and with us they were phenomenal [81 points in 46 games, playoffs included]. ”
If the price paid by the Blazers had greatly reacted on the web in January, this was not the case internally.
“It will not affect me much for the rest of things , laughed captain Logan Stankoven, who is in his last year as a junior. We paid a big price, but we are lucky enough to play in this tournament and that does not happen often. So we had to make important moves and add key players like him and Hofer. »
For Zellweger, a hope of Anaheim Ducks, the price paid by the Blazers to acquire him did not come with added pressure.
“I wanted to win and that was the most important thing for me. We have another chance to fight for a championship.
“I don't feel the pressure of the trade, we also received a very good player in the trade. I think we had a positive impact on the team and we will try to give the team the best chance possible to win. ”