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Draft Pick Profile: Kudla

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Coyotes added five prospects to the mix at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo, N.Y. Follow along as ArizonaCoyotes.com profiles all five draft picks.

Patrick Kudla

PATRICK KUDLA

Age: 20
Height/Weight: 6-3/174
Position: Defenseman
Hometown: Guelph, Ontario
Round: 6 (158th overall)
2015-16 team: Oakville (OJHL)

The Skinny:

Kudla, who converted from forward to defenseman just two years ago, was named the OJHL Defenseman of the Year after leading all OJHL blueliners with 66 points (13 goals, 53 assists) in 50 games last season - the 14th best total by a defenseman in league history. He said he models his game after NHL defenseman Brent Burns, another forward who converted to defenseman.

The Stats:

• Kudla's 53 assists last season led all players in the OJHL and was the 10th best total by a defenseman in league history.

• Kudla was named the OJHL Gongshow Gear South-West Conference Player-of-the-Month for October, starting off a list of impressive accolades to his name this year, which included getting named to Team OJHL Hawerchuk at the 2015 Eastern Canada Cup All-Star Challenge.

The Quotes:

Patrick Kudla

"I wasn’t watching the draft so when I found out I was drafted it was honestly the first time in my life I couldn’t put words together. I was just so excited and honored. It’s such a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I don’t think it’s even sunk in yet." -- Patrick Kudla

"I love warm weather and I love the heat. Just the thought of waking up everyday and putting on shorts is very cool to me. I love Arizona. When I went to ASU for my visit I didn’t want to leave." -- Patrick Kudla

"My ultimate goal is to be an impact player at the NHL level. I know a lot of people say they want to make it, but I not only want to make it, I want to be a player that guys can look up to and say 'Hey, Patrick Kudla went sixth round and look at how he’s doing.'" -- Patrick Kudla

"He’s a bit of a late bloomer. He was a 5-11 forward and then he just had a real growth spurt and switched position so there was a lot of changes and it's a steep learning curve for him. But he’s got some real good tools to work with... We think there's upside with this kid." -- Coyotes Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Bernhardt

"When we first started to recruit Patrick, we felt like we were watching a legit NHL prospect. The fact he's only been playing defense for two years speaks to his potential as an incredibly dynamic offensive defenseman. We can't wait to get him in the maroon and gold." -- ASU Head Coach Greg Powers

Patrick Kudla

The Fun Facts:

• Kudla wasn't at the NHL Draft in Buffalo nor was he watching it on TV when the Coyotes selected him. He said he was tossing a Frisbee around with some friends in his backyard when his mother came outside and delivered the news.

• Kudla has committed to play for Arizona State University beginning with the 2017-18 season. Before that he will play for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the USHL.

• Kudla once met Coyotes prospect Dylan Strome at a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game. Strome is friends with Kudla's billet brother.

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