When defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was selected in the first round of the 2007 Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche, he was entering the unknown with the impression that he would be doing everything on his own.
By the time that draft's second round was complete, that all changed.
That's because with the No. 45 selection, the Avs grabbed Shattenkirk's good friend, defenseman Colby Cohen. While the pair didn't grow up on the same street, they frequently played together on various travel teams. But it doesn't stop there. Not only are Shattenkirk and Cohen both Colorado prospects, they also skate on the same blue line at Boston University.
"It's great," Shattenkirk said during the Avs' development camp. "We've grown up together, playing with each other on summer teams, playing against each other in winter hockey. We've known each other for a while, and just going through all of this together, it's definitely something we both enjoy."
Added Cohen: "It's neat … we've known each other for a long time. We've been on a lot of the same teams growing up, so it's nice to know someone when you're going through this experience."
Shattenkirk, who hails from Greenwich, Conn., and idolized former Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch while growing up, had four goals and 17 assists in 40 games in his first season at BU. With some experience under his belt, the offensive-minded defenseman is banking on bigger things as a sophomore.
"I think overall it was a good year," Shattenkirk said. "I had a very slow start. I think that was just me kind of adjusting to the play. I think overall in the end, I started to pick it up a bit. As a team, we started to pick it up a bit, which makes it a lot easier confidence-wise. I think it was a great experience and I'm looking forward to another year."
"It's great. We've grown up together, playing with each other on summer teams, playing against each other in winter hockey. We've known each other for a while, and just going through all of this together, it's definitely something we both enjoy."
-- Avs prospect Kevin Shattenkirk
"It was a good year," Cohen said. "We had a tough year as a team this year. We had a lot of ups and downs and some weird circumstances, but I definitely thought I had a pretty decent year. A good freshman year."
Shattenkirk believes he and his good friend will both be major contributors on the blue line for BU this season. The former first-round pick was asked by NHL.com to compare his game with Cohen's.
"In my game, I'm just a little more offensive, I guess," Shattenkirk said. "I join the rush right away. As far as Colby, he sees the ice really well. He's a great passer and he has a great shot from the point. I think that's a great part of his arsenal. I think we both offer that kind of offensive threat, but I guess just in a different way."
The Avs' summer camp was the first for both Shattenkirk and Cohen, who received their first glimpse of the NHL since their draft day during the week-long event. Both came away highly impressed.
"It was great," Shattenkirk said. "Obviously, I didn't know much coming into it. Just meeting with all the coaches and just getting all the different perspectives on the NHL lifestyle has been a fun experience."
"I just wanted to see what a lot of the other players were like and see how the organization's run," Cohen said. "Basically what I took out of it is it's just an unbelievably-organized organization. They're very classy. On the ice, I learned a bunch."
Shattenkirk learned everything he could in regards to off-ice training. On the ice, he did his best to live up to the hype that any first-round draft pick would carry during such an event that is often attended by die-hard fans.
"Obviously, it's always in the back of my mind," Shattenkirk said. "But I think the more you worry about that, you more it will affect your game. I think that kind of hurt me last year. I kind of put too much pressure on myself and telling myself that I had to get it done right away. I think everything's a process, whether you're drafted in the first round or not drafted at all. When it all comes down to it, it's hard work."
But unlike most, Shattenkirk has a good friend by his side during this process. When it's all said and done, he and Cohen could be skating together on Colorado's blue line.
"We joke around about it," Shattenkirk said. "It's something that we've both worked towards together. That would just be ideal to play together here."
Contact Brian Compton at: email@example.com.