At 6-foot-6 and 222-pounds, Lain is an intimidating presence on the ice and instantly becomes the largest Canucks prospect in height and weight after a signing a three-year entry level contract with the team on Saturday. Lain will report to the Canucks American Hockey League affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, in the next few days.
“Kellan is a big, strong center with pretty decent skills that skates good,” said Jim Roque, who coached Lain for the last three seasons at Lake Superior State University in the NCAA.
“Obviously his role on my team will be different than what is asked of him at the pro level; on my team he was asked to score a little more and be an offensive guy, I think he has those traits, but I think he is more of a third line checking center, faceoff guy.
“He is competitive, competes hard and has an edge to him”
Canucks director of player development Dave Gagner agrees.
“Kellan is a big, strong, detailed player; wins face-offs, finishes checks, plays with an edge, is hard on his opponents and skates well too.”
Lain, a native of Oakville, Ontario, spent the last three seasons with the LSSU Lakers, where he accumulated 39 points (21-18-39) and 210 penalty-minutes in 108 games, including 111 penalty minutes in 32 games this past season.
“He hits hard, he is physical, that’s his game,” added Rogue. “He has to play with an edge, play physical and stick his nose in there to be effective.”
At 220 pounds one would think size wouldn’t be an issue, however Roque said adding some weight to his already large frame is a must in order to for him to keep a physical presence at the pro level.
“His body needs to fill out, he needs to get thicker,” said Roque. “He is still a thin kid for a big kid. His body needs to fill out and get bigger if he is to play at 80 games plus playoffs at the pro level.”
In the NCAA, 111 penalty minutes in 32 games is a staggering amount, but Roque says Lain’s size and punishing hits led to referees handing him his share of penalty minutes strictly due to his large stature.
“When you get a five in our league you also get a 10 with it to and he had a couple check from behinds and a couple hit to the heads. To be honest, our league kind of ran him out of college hockey as every time he hit a guy it was a penalty because he is so big.”
As far as off-the-ice, in just speaking to the 23-year-old Lain you can instantly tell he is a laidback, smart guy who comes from a strong family.
“He is a good kid, that comes from a nice family, his parents are educators,” said Roque. “Real good team guy, easy to get along with and likes to have fun.”
And now ladies and gentleman, we present 10 things you may or may not know about the newest Canucks prospect Kellan Lain:
– His dad, a teacher, taught Manny Malhotra through high school. “I got the chance to meet him a few times when he was playing in Guelph and he is someone I looked up to growing up,” said Lain.
– He is good friends with Sam Gagner, so he got to know Sam’s dad, Dave Gagner pretty well and is friends with fellow Canucks prospect Jeremy Price. “The familiarity with everyone played a big part into my decision to come to Vancouver.”
– The last time he was in Vancouver he was five-years-old.
– His job this past summer was promoting Bud Light.
– He missed almost a year of hockey when a skate blade from an opposition goaltender cut his wrist in a playoff game, which required surgery. Instead of starting his freshman season in the NCAA the next season he spent the year recovering from the injury and joined his OJHL team at the end of the year. “That was really scary, I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to play hockey again.”
– He took college classes while playing junior in Oakville, which he was able to transfer to Lake Superior State and will graduate with a degree in marketing this spring after only three years at the school. “I didn’t want to leave school without my degree so it’s really nice to sign an NHL contract and obtain my degree at the same time.”
– He feels the one thing he needs to work on is his strength. “I need to get stronger and bigger, not in height but in weight.”
– He feels he plays a similar role to current NHL players Paul Gaustad and David Steckel.
– Off the ice he describes himself as big family man that is laidback and likes to play golf in the summer and also enjoys hitting the gym.
– His thoughts on dealing with all the media requests on the day he signed: “This is crazy, I have never been around anything like this before, and it’s a lot bigger than I thought it would be, but it’s really fun!”
Welcome to the hockey market that is Vancouver, Kellan.