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FUTURE WATCH | When push comes to shove, Platzer’s prepared to step up

by Meg Tilley / Edmonton Oilers

Photo by Mark Nessia / Bakersfield Condors.

It started with an orange cone, a slippery surface and a determined will.

Pushing and nudging it across the ice, the cone may have taught a young Kyle Platzer how to skate, but it eventually became an instrumental piece of equipment that taught him how to succeed.

“My dad would take me to the rink and throw the pylon in front of me to hold on to and just let me kind of figure it out for myself — I kind of fell in love with it there,” he said.

Growing up, thanks to his dad, Platzer was immersed in the world of hockey and joined his first team when he was only four years old.

“He always watched hockey and played hockey so being around him was a huge inspiration,” said Platzer.

Hailing from Waterloo, Ont., Platzer was drafted by the Oilers in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL Draft, 96th overall.

At the time of his selection, the right-winger, who currently plays for Edmonton’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate team the Bakersfield Condors, was playing for the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL’s) London Knights.

“[Being drafted] was a dream come true for me,” said Platzer.

“Obviously, getting drafted into the OHL was special, but the main goal, and the goal to keep going forward in the hockey world, is to get drafted into the NHL. So when I got the text on my phone and saw it come up on the TV it was a dream come true.”

Platzer got his first taste of the AHL in the 2014-15 season a few days after his Owen Sound Attack team were eliminated from the OHL playoffs, having been called up to help out the Oklahoma City Baron just before their own playoff run.

Photo by Mark Nessia / Bakersfield Condors.

“It was a big difference for me, especially my first game,” he said.

“The first game I felt a little overwhelmed at times but by the second game I was in control and felt normal again out there. It was good for me to get that learning experience under my belt.”

Platzer posted two goals and added one assist for three points in four games during the regular season with the Barons.

Now, 22 games into his first full AHL season as a professional player with the Condors, Platzer says he feels confident in his role on the ice.

“I feel really comfortable out there,” he said. “[Here], it’s all about the little details in the game where in junior it’s a little more loose defensively and you can take advantage of a lot more breakdowns.

“Everyone plays the right way and it’s about who wants it more. It’s different from junior because in junior there’s a lot more openings to succeed [whereas] here you might get one, two chances a game and you’ve got to capitalize when you can. It’s been good, I feel comfortable and I just want to keep developing and keep getting better.”

With a 10-10-1-1 record, the Condors have had their fair share of challenges throughout the 2015-16 season.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs so far,” said Platzer. “We started the season ok and then we went through a little bit of a dry spell and as of late we’ve been coming on strong. We’ve had a lot of injuries and a lot of guys out with certain things and I think we’ve done a good job battling through that. I think we can only get better from here.”


With a few players having been recalled to assist the Oilers — who were plagued with injuries and illness towards the start of their NHL season — the Condors have been working hard to maintain their momentum with a few call-ups of their own.

“They’ve been really helpful,” said the 20-year-old.

“It’s hard to have so many guys out or called up to Edmonton and still have a winning record, so I think we’ve done a good job, and I think the guys that have come up have done a great job adjusting, coming into the league and trying to make an impact. I know it would be a tough job for me to do that so I understand where they’re coming from and I think they’ve done a great job so far.”

Though he has been a dedicated player, it was once reported back in 2014 that in order to get a professional contract with the Oilers, Platzer needed a breakout year.

His chance to show the hockey critics what he was made of came at the signing of his name to a three-year entry-level contract with the Oilers after his 2014-15 season with the Owen Sound Attack, where he garnered 81 points in 68 games.

“That is probably the biggest [accomplishment] so far,” said Platzer.

Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club 

Since signing with the Oilers, Platzer said he has been focussed on taking on more of a leadership role and isn’t prepared to shy away from offensive or defensive positioning on the ice.

“I’d like to say I’m a two-way forward,” he explained. “I can score a goal if you need one and I can protect one if you need that as well. I just try to play both sides of the puck and be reliable on both ends [so] the coach can put me out in key situations.”

His confidence and willingness to take on more responsibility was evident when he attended his third Oilers Rookie Camp this year.

“There was definitely a lot of a different feel,” he said. “I knew what to expect and what to bring to the table. My first year there were older guys that helped us young guys along the way, so I tried to be that resource for the younger guys that were just coming in and lead by example on and off the ice.”

While he’s prepared to make an impact as a leader off the ice, Platzer says he still has some work to do to build his physical stature to ensure he’s a force to be reckoned with while on the ice.

“For me I’ve got to get a lot stronger, it’s no secret and it’s something I’m working on,” he admitted.

“You know, other guys have to work on their skills or their skating…for me it’s about getting stronger, working on my defensive game and all things that will help me get to the next level…. I think if I’m stronger I’ll be a lot faster, therefore I can play at the next level.”

A right-shooting centre with the ability to fill in at other positions, the pylon that eventually led him to his passionate career may have been short and stout, but it taught him one valuable and long-lasting lesson: when push comes to shove, Platzer is ready.

Statistics For In The System Through Past Seasons: 14-15 | 13-14 | 12-13 | 11-12
Stats Updated as of Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bakersfield (AHL) - Forwards


Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM
GREG CHASE C 20 11 1 3 4 +1 4
BRADEN CHRISTOFFER LW 21 19 1 2 3 -5 35
JOSH CURRIE C 23 10 3 1 4 +1 14
LEON DRAISAITL C 20 6 1 1 2 -5 4
MATTHEW FORD*   RW 31 20 9 6 15 -3 22
RYAN HAMILTON   LW 30 20 7 2 9 -3 8
KELLEN JONES   LW 25 1 0 0 0 -1 2
KALE KESSY   LW 22 20 4 3 7 +5 33
JUJHAR KHAIRA   LW 21 16 3 4 7 -1 7
ALEXIS LOISEAU   C 21 12 1 2 3 +1 2
ANDREW MILLER   RW/C 27 16 6 9 15 -1 8
MITCH MOROZ   LW 21 16 2 3 5 +3 42
PHILIP MCCRAE* C 23 9 2 0 2 -4 4
IIRO PAKARINEN   RW 24 4 1 2 3 0 4
TYLER PITLICK   RW 23 5 0 0 0 +1 0
KYLE PLATZER RW 20 22 2 5 7 -1 4
MARC-OLIVIER ROY* C 21 9 2 0 2 -4 0
ANTON SLEPYSHEV LW 21 14 3 1 4 -8 10
JOSH WINQUIST   LW 22 8 3 4 7 +3 20
BOGDAN YAKIMOV   C/W 21 16 3 3 6 -4 8
DANIIL ZHARKOV (INJURED)
LW 21 - - - - - -
Bakersfield (AHL) - Defencemen


Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM
MARTIN GERNAT   d 23 11 0 0 0 +1 2
brad hunt   D 27 22 4 15 19 -5 8
JOEY LALEGGIA   D 23 22 2 7 9 +8 18
DAVID MUSIL D 22 22 2 1 3 +2 12
NIKITA NIKITIN   D 29 14 1 8 9 -7 0
DARNELL NURSE   D 20 6 0 1 1 0 7
JORDAN OESTERLE   d 23 14 0 7 7 -2 6
NICK PAGEAU   D 27 12 0 1 1 -5 2
GRIFFIN REINHART   D 21 4 0 3 3 +2 4
DILLON SIMPSON
D 22 12 0 3 3 -6 0
Norfolk (ECHL)


Name POS age    GP G A P +/- PIM
BEN BETKER D 21 26 1 9 10 +1 17
GREG CHASE F 20 10 4 2 6 -3 18
Canadian Hockey League
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
CALEB JONES  D 18 31 5 18 23 +2 33 PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS (WHL)
ETHAN BEAR  D 18 31 11 24 35   +8 20 SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS (WHL)
NCAA & USHL
Name POS age  GP G A   P +/- PIM team
EVAN CAMPBELL   LW 21 16 2  4 6 0 14 UMASS-LOWELL (NCAA)
WILLIAM LAGESSON
D 19 18 2 4 6 -2 14 UMASS-AMHERST (NCAA)
JOHN MARINO d 18 22 1 11 12 +4 14 TRI-CITY (USHL)
AIDAN MUIR LW 20 16 1 2 3 -8 8 WESTERN MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TYLER VESEL   C 21 16 1 6 7 +6 0 NEBRASKA-OMAHA (NCAA)
Europe
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
ROMAN HORAK C 24 40 8 11 19 -3 24 CHEKHOV VITYAZ (KHL)
PHILIP LARSEN   D 25 36 6 19 25 +11 8 JOKERIT HELSINKI (FINLAND)
ZIYAT PAIGIN  F 20 18 4 7 11 -2 4 KAZAN AK-BARS (KHL)
ANTTI TYRVAINEN  F 26 13 5 1 6 1 53 ILVES TAMPERE (finland)
2016 World Junior Hockey Championships
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
CHECK BACK DURING THE TOURNAMENT                 
Goaltenders
Name age GP w l T GAA SV% team
KEVEN BOUCHARD   19 21 4 13 2 3.97 .872 baie-comeau (qmjHL)
LAURENT BROSSOIT 22 15 9 4 1 2.57 .926 bakersfield (AHL)
EETU LAURIKAINEN 22 8 3 5 0 2.16 .920 HPK HAMEENLINNA (finland)
ZACH NAGELVOORT   21 9 5 2 1 3.14 .888 michigan (ncaa)
BEN SCRIVENS   29 7 1 5 0 4.01 .868 bakersfield (ahl)
MIROSLAV SVOBODA   20 1 0 1 0 6.00 .750 TRINEC OCELARI (CZECH)
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