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FUTURE WATCH | Josh Winquist

by Ashley Docking / Edmonton Oilers

The first year of professional hockey can be daunting. There are new expectations, increased game speed and size, while playing in a brand new system. But for Josh Winquist, that simply means everything is going according to plan.

 After spending five seasons with the Everett Silvertips, where Winquist recorded 216 points, the forward is settling in nicely with the Bakersfield Condors in the ECHL.

“It’s definitely different, but it’s been a good change,” Winquist said. “We have a great group here and they’ve been helping me along, so it’s been nice.”

Photo provided by Bakersfield Condors

What was also nice was the breakout offensive performance that Winquist had in his final junior season. He went off for 47 goals and 46 assists for the grand total of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  That’s 93 points for those, like myself, who are mathematically challenged.

While it’s been fun and exciting to be signed and begin his first professional season, all of those adjectives don’t mask the reality that this is an opportunity Winquist takes very seriously.

“Guys are here for a job and in junior, a lot of guys are there to have fun,” observed the winger. “That’s the biggest difference between the two leagues. It’s the mentality that you bring to the rink.”

He plans to make the most of every opportunity.

“It’s your career (at stake) and you have to do your best to sign a new deal next year,” he said. “Guys are trying to compete for your job and so it’s an audition every single day.”

Auditioning for a role is a lot less nerve-racking when you know the director of the production, which isn’t the case in Bakersfield.

Winquist needs to prove himself to a new man in charge. J.F. Houle, son of five-time Stanley Cup winner Réjean Houle, was named as the Condors head coach in July. 

Houle was drafted by the Canadiens in 1993 and, just like Winquist, is a rookie to the professional ranks. The transition is no doubt an adjustment for the coach, whose expectations of his players, according to Winquist, are, “day and night,” compared to his former coach, Kevin Constantine.

“It’s definitely a big difference,” he exclaimed emphatically, “Constantine was more quick shifts, dump the puck in and be first on the back check and here J.F. lets us be creative and make our own plays.”

Although the forward says he can’t pick which he prefers, Winquist appears to have found his scoring touch. It looks like Houle’s coaching style is beneficial.

Photo provided by Bakersfield Condors

The freedom to create for himself and teammates may be the key to Winquist reaching his end game.

“My goal is to do what I did last year but just in this league and (ultimately) get called up,” Winquist said.

His new coaching staff is dedicated to fine tuning his game to get him there.

“(They say to) do the things that got you here,” Winquist said. “If you’re a skill guy then play skilled, or if you’re physical then play physical. They just try to get you to play your own game but help you with little things and give you tips here and there to improve.”

After just falling short of 50 goals last year, the new test for Winquist will be whether or not he can maintain the upwards trajectory he’s had managed in five seasons with the Silvertips.

His goal count in Everett, beginning when he was 16-years-old, was three, eight, 19, 24, and 47. So far, the winger has 13 points (4 goals) in 10 games for the 8-5 Condors.

“If scoring is going to get me there (NHL) I have to score or if playing physical will get me there then I’ll do that. You’ve just got to do what will get you to the next level.”

Helping make the transition to a new team and place easier has been the handful of familiar faces.    

“The only guys I knew were the ones I was in Oklahoma City with a lot, or well I guess I knew (Mitch) Holmberg because we played against each other growing up as kids. He’s the guy I’d say I knew more than anyone coming in.”

Winquist is from St. Albert, AB and Holmberg from Sherwood Park, AB. Both played midget hockey in the AMHL. 

It’s always interesting to hear about old rivalries or thoughts from a player on former opponents. Although he didn’t name Holmberg, I want to make that very clear, Winquist did have this to say about old foes turned friends.

“When you play those guys, you don’t like them,” Winquist said. “When you get to meet them they’re great guys. The stuff they did that pissed you off, they’re doing to other guys and you enjoy it now.”

Making it to the NHL is the ultimate goal for the prospects in the Oilers system, but it’s always a little bit more enticing when your debut would be in front of a familiar crowd.

“It’s awesome and all my friends are really happy for me,” Winquist said. “They all love that I’m within the organization. It’s the team you grew up watching and seeing everyday on the front page of the paper, so it’s really cool.”

For Winquist, playing for the Oilers would be a childhood role-play come to life, and the realization of his dream is so close.

  Barons Player StatsAHL StandingsBarons Schedule | Past Prospect Stats: 13-14 | 12-13 | 11-12


Stats Updated as of Wednesday, November 12, 2014 | * - Player on AHL contract with Oklahoma City Barons

Oklahoma City (AHL)


Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM
KEITH AULIE D 25 8 0 1 1 -6 0
BRANDON DAVIDSON D 23 3 0 2 2 0 2
TRAVIS EWANYK F 21 10 0 1 1 -5 13
MATT FORD* F 30 9 1 4 5 -3 2
MARTIN GERNAT d 21 10 0 3 3 +1 6
CURTIS HAMILTON
F 22 9 2 2 4 -1 10
RYAN HAMILTON
F 29 10 6 3 9 +1 2
KALE KESSY
F 21 9 2 2 4 -7 18
JUJHAR KHAIRA
F 20 9 1 1 2 -2 14
OSCAR KLEFBOM   d 21 6 1 6 7 +7 2
ANTON LANDER
F 23 11 2 6 8 -1 10
C.J. LUDWIG* D 24 5 1 0 1 -4 4
MARTIN MARINCIN
D 22 1 0 1 1 0 0
ANDREW MILLER F 26 10 2 6 8 0 0
MITCH MOROZ F 20 9 0 0 0 0 9
DAVID MUSIL D 21 8 0 2 2 -2 4
JORDAN OESTERLE  D 22 11 3 2 5 -2 0
IIRO PAKARINEN F 23 7 5 3 8 +5 0
STEVE PINIZZOTTO
F 30 7 0 5 5 +2 21
TYLER PITLICK
F 23 6 1 5 6 +1 4
DILLON SIMPSON
d 21 11 1 0 1 -4 2
JASON WILLIAMS*
F 34 10 5 6 11 -1 10
BOGDAN YAKIMOV
F 20 8 1 1 2 -2 4
Bakersfield (ECHL)
Name POS age    GP G A P +/- PIM
graeme craig* D 21 13 3 2 5 -1 14
mitch holmberg* F 21 8 0 1 1 -5 0
connor jones* F 24 13 4 7 11 +2 10
Kellen jones* F 24 13 2 9 11 +2 8
josh winquist* F 21 10 4 9 13 0 7
Canadian Hockey League
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
BEN BETKER   d 20 16 1 4 5 +10 8 EVERETT (WHL)
GREG CHASE  d 19 15 2 13 15 +2 20 CALGARY (WHL)
JACKSON HOUCK
f 19 16 5 12 17 -2 13 VANCOUVER (WHL)
DARNELL NURSE D 19 8 2 8 10 -1 19 SAULT STE. MARIE (OHL)
KYLE PLATZER F 19 18 6 18 24 +11 12 OWEN SOUND (OHL)
MARCO ROY
F 20 16 7 7 14 +6 10 QUEBEC (qmjHL)
NCAA, Junior A & USHL
Name POS age  GP G A P +/- PIM team
EVAN CAMPBELL   f 21 9 3 5 8 -2 12 UMASS-LOWELL (NCAA)
LIAM COUGHLIN
F 20 18 7 7 14 0 14 VERNON (BCHL)
WILLIAM LAGESSON
d 18 12 1 7 8 +7 24 DUBUQUE (USHL)
JOEY LALEGGIA  d 22 7 4 1 5 +2 15 DENVER (NCAA)
JOHN MCCARRON   f 22 4 0 1 1 -2 6 CORNELL (NCAA)
AIDAN MUIR   F 19 7 1 2 3 +1 0 WESTERN MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TYLER VESEL F 20 8 1 3 4 -1 0 NEBRASKA-OMAHA (NCAA)
Europe
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
ROMAN HORAK
f 23 25 13 6 19 +3 18 VITYAZ (KHL)
PHILIP LARSEN
f 24 27 1 7 8 -3 20 YUGRA (KHL)
ANTON SLEPYSHEV
f 20 26 4 4 8 -3 6 UFA (KHL)
ANTTI TYRVAINEN
F 25 15 4 1 5 -3 8 TAMPERE (FINLAND)
DANIIL ZHARKOV
F 20 6 0 0 0 +2 4 NIZHNY NOVGOROD (KHL)
2014 World Junior Hockey Championships
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
TBD - - - - - - - -   -
Goaltenders
Name age GP w l T GAA SV% team
RICHARD BACHMAN   27 5 3 0 2 2.46 .913 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)
KEVEN BOUCHARD  18 12 2 6 2 4.63 .848 VAL D'OR (QMJHL)
LAURENT BROSSOIT 21 3 0 3 0 3.39 .891 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)
TYLER BUNZ   22 2 0 1 1 2.88 .880 wichita (ECHL)
ZACHARY NAGELVOORT
20 5 0 4 0 3.68 .889 MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TY RIMMER*
22 10 6 4 0 2.79 .911 BAKERSFIELD (ECHL)
Frans Tuohimaa   23 2 1 1 0 3.00 .915 BAKERSFIELD (ECHL)
3 2 0 1 4.22 .904 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)

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