Nicolas Hague, an A-rated defenseman on NHL Central Scouting's players to watch list for the 2017 NHL Draft, is in his second season with Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League. Hague enters this weekend second among OHL defensemen with 14 goals, tied for third with five power-play goals and tied for ninth with 31 points. The 6-foot-5, 206-pound left-handed shot has offered to maintain a monthly draft diary for NHL.com leading up to the 2017 draft in Chicago on June 23-24. His January blog comes prior to games against Sault Ste. Marie on Friday and Sudbury on Sunday.
Hi hockey fans,
The team has really been playing well of late. We didn't really change anything and kept playing our game. We knew we were going to get a couple of bounces here and there at some point, and I think we really just started to click as a team. We've been defeating some good teams in the Western Conference and have starting to play with a bit more confidence.
I feel the young guys are starting to learn what works best for them, what they have to do to be efficient and really go out there and help our team. The older guys are starting to click and younger guys are starting to figure out what works best. We're starting to really bond, and play with confidence.
I'd say our first-year guys, who were kind of flying under the radar a little bit, are trying to make a name for themselves and I think they've been doing a really good job. They're not worrying about their personal success and I think they're all doing a really good job at grinding on the other team's top lines. What they do might not get noticed on the scoresheet but in the dressing room we know that they've been great. They're out there grinding every night and it makes a huge difference.
Personally, I feel like I've been playing well. I've clicked with my defense partner the past 10 games (Stefan LeBlanc). We're playing with confidence. We're out there against the opposing team's top lines and kind of shutting it down. I find that when I'm focused on more of a defensive game and not getting scored upon, it helps my all-around game and on both sides of the ice.
I've always been a guy who wanted to contribute at both ends, and have always prided myself on helping out in the defensive and offensive zones. I'm playing on the power play and I like to be that guy helping out on the offense. I like to think I can play both ends at a high level; that's how I want my game to be.
Finally, I just want to say how much I'm looking forward to participating in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Quebec City on January 30. Ever since the roster came out it has been on my mind and I'm really looking forward to going over there and experiencing that atmosphere. It'll be a really good game with the top 40 prospects of the Canadian Hockey League.
Until next month, enjoy the hockey.