EDMONTON, AB - It was tough sledding for the newly-minted Winnipeg Ice this past season in the WHL, but Peyton Krebs made the most of a challenging situation.
Formerly the Kootenay Ice, the rebuilding western outfit finished with a measly 13 wins in 68 games - second last in the league next to Swift Current with 11 - before announcing its relocation to Winnipeg this past January.
If not for a bright spot in Krebs, it could've been an even longer season in Cranbrook.
The centre from Calgary, Alberta led the team in more ways than one, donning the 'C' as a 17-year-old, notching 68 points (19G, 49A) in 64 games, and playing a key role on both sides of special teams killing penalties and leading the power play.
Video: COMBINE | Peyton Krebs
"I think anytime you can be the captain of a team, I don't think you go and try to be a captain, it's pretty special," Krebs said to EdmontonOilers.com at the NHL Scouting Combine. "During the season I think I tried to be the guy that guys could look up to and try to lead by example to allow them to get to success and move on in their careers. I had a lot of fun with the guys in that locker room."
Simply stated, Krebs was the driver for the Ice. The former first-overall pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft could deliver the complete package to whichever club overlooks his team's success and an on-ice Achilles injury sustained earlier this month as one of the most well-rounded players in this year's draft class with defensive soundness, innate offensive ability, and drive to be a leader in all aspects of the game.
"I think I'm always working on my 200-foot game," Krebs commented. "If I can play in the defensive zone and be reliable there, I think that's what I need to improve on to allow myself to play at the next level."
Kreb's leadership extended to the World Under-18 Championships in Slovakia this past April, taking the captaincy for Canada and running with it to tie for fifth in tournament scoring with six goals and four assists in 10 games behind an all-American quartet of Cam York, Matthew Boldy, Cole Caufield and Jack Hughes who are sure to join Krebs as first-round picks at Friday's NHL Draft in Vancouver.
If there had been any mist around the mystery of this offensive dynamo tucked away in southeast B.C., it was quickly lifted.
"Going to Team Canada, I was trying to be myself and was fortunate to be the captain there," he said. "It was a great group of guys and it was definitely a challenge this year, but coming to Team Canada I think I played well and I had a lot of fun."