Transactions in hockey are about as common as winning and losing. It’s a part of the game and a fact of life for the players who partake in the greatest sport on ice.
Relocating to an unfamiliar city to meet new teammates and staff can be a daunting task, one that is filled with the stress of travel and thoughts of the uncertain future ahead. Yet it also offers an opportunity to start over, turning the page on one chapter of life while putting ink to crisp paper to start writing the next.
That’s the way newly acquired Colorado Avalanche forward Jordan Caron—who’s spent his entire professional career with the Boston Bruins organization—is approaching it after being traded on deadline day.
“I’m here now and looking forward to a new start and starting a new chapter,” the 24-year-old Caron said when asked about the path that led him to Denver.
Selected 25th overall at the 2009 NHL Draft, Caron played just 11 games with the Bruins this season prior to being traded. His brief stints in the top tier of the sport, totaling 134 games over the course of five seasons, never quite seemed to go the way he desired, but that has only left him hungry to prove himself.
“It [didn’t] always [go] the way I wanted it to in Boston, so I’m excited for the new start, and to prove people wrong and show what I can do in the NHL,” Caron said. “It just didn’t work out, I guess. I never felt really confident up there, and I wish I had more offensive opportunity, but I don’t regret anything. I had five great years there, and it was awesome. It’s just time to move on.”
Caron had a chance to do just that during his first practice with the Avs on Tuesday. He was immediately paired on a line with center Matt Duchene and a former teammate of his in Boston, Jarome Iginla, for 5-on-5 drills.
Having a familiar face to help ease the awkwardness of joining a new group, plus to provide encouragement during a tough stretch of mountains at the end of practice, certainly goes a long way.
“Of course, knowing Iggy—and there’s a few French-Canadian guys, too—it’s fun to have them on a team and showing me around and introducing me to the other guys. It’s fun to have these guys here in the room,” Caron said, hoping to stick with that line for Wednesday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. “We’ll see what’s going to happen tomorrow, but obviously that would be great. Getting a chance to play on a top line like this with two great players, that would be be awesome.
“It’s fun playing with offensive players like this. It’s good for the confidence, and we’ll see what’s going to happen tomorrow, but I think that it will be a good line to play with.”
Iginla isn’t the only person with the Avs that Caron has experience with. He played for Avalanche assistant coach Andre Tourigny with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, putting up 33 points (17 goals, 16 assists) in 23 games during the 2009-10 season, and the two won a silver medal for Hockey Canada at the 2009-10 World Junior Championship. On top of that, Avs head coach Patrick Roy and video coach Mario Duhamel both saw plenty of Caron while coaching against his teams in the QMJHL.
“When I found out it was Colorado, I was really excited. I know a little bit of the coaching staff. I had Andre in junior, and I knew a couple guys on the team already,” said Caron. “I think it’s a good organization, and [there’s] a lot of good, young players. I was pretty excited to join this team.”
The experience with Tourigny was something that stuck with him.
“It was great. I had him at the World Juniors and the Canada Games a few years before, and in junior in Rouyn,” Caron said. “It was pretty special, and we had a good connection together and hopefully we’ll keep it going.”
Considered an efficient and hardworking skater, Caron was quick to rattle off his strengths when asked to provide a scouting analysis of his game.
“I think I’m a good two-way player. I’m sound defensively, and I can bring some stuff offensively around the net as well—battling in the corners and stuff like that. Working hard and being physical by protecting the puck and stuff like that, I think that’s always been my game,” he said. “I’m good around the net, creating space in the corner and battling around the net. I’m going to try and bring that to this team.”
In fact, despite only having a few hours with the team on Tuesday, the 6-foot-3, 204-pound left-handed shooter has already begun working with his teammates to expedite some synergy before Wednesday’s contest.
“I talked to Matt and Iggy a little bit today about it. ‘Let me do the dirty work around the net, and I think we could have good chemistry together,’” Caron told them.
Streamlining the process should come as no surprise given that Caron—a Sayabec, Quebec native—is now a part of the franchise he grew up rooting for. Caron still has a photo of himself, seen on his Twitter profile, wearing a white Nordiques jersey as a youth skater.
“They moved when I was pretty young, but I was really happy when they won the cup the first year they got here,” Caron admitted. “I was always a big fan of Joe [Sakic]. Like a lot of players growing up, he was one of my favorite players. So it’s always been a team that I was cheering for and looking at as a kid.”
Caron will make his Avalanche debut Wednesday night.