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Sens Farm Report: Christian Wolanin

Sens prospect Christian Wolanin becoming a leader on and off the ice for North Dakota.

by Craig Medaglia @craigmedaglia / Ottawa Senators

Christian Wolanin has flown under the radar a little bit since being selected by the Senators in the 4th round of the 2015 NHL Draft…until this year. The 22-year-old defenceman has stepped up in a big way during his Junior season at the University of North Dakota and currently leads the team in assists (19) and points (29).

"I had a great summer working out on my own as well as at Sens Development Camp," shared Wolanin. "Confidence has been a huge reason for my success on the ice this year along with the opportunities I've been given from the coaches to play my game within our team structure."

Tweet from @UNDmhockey: Clean those hands, Mr. Wolanin.

For the second consecutive year, Wolanin has increased his goal, assist and point totals in the NCAA but what won't show up on the scoresheet is the continued progress he's made in the defensive zone. Often matched up against the opposing team's top line, Wolanin has made it a priority to excel in every zone.

"At Development Camp, they tell you that if you can't play in every zone on the ice, you aren't going to play," he said. "You might be able to make it for a few games but you won't last. That's something that I've always been focused on and I want to prove that I can be responsible and reliable defensively. That's been my mentality going into each game, the offence will come but I want to be consistent on the back end."

In his Junior season, Wolanin has emerged as a leader for the Fighting Hawks both on and off the ice and while he may not have a letter on his jersey, he's found a way to be what his team needs him to be.

"I don't think you need a letter to lead. I don't have a letter on my jersey but I try to be a leader for this team whether it be for the young guys on defence or as a voice in the locker room," Wolanin said. "Our leaders on our team are great leaders by their actions but they aren't the most vocal so someone had to step up at the beginning of this year and take over the vocal side of things and I hope that I've been doing a good job for our team."

Wolanin's father, Craig, played in 695 NHL games and was an assistant captain with the Colorado Avalanche and it's pretty evident that his dad's leadership qualities have rubbed off.

"I'm fortunate to be able to talk with him in person or pick up the phone and I learn something every single time," Wolanin said of his father. "Some of my dad's old teammates would always tell me what a great leader he was so hopefully my teammates can look at me the same way."

North Dakota wraps up it's regular season this weekend with a pair of home games against St. Cloud State and as they get set for the post-season, Wolanin hopes to draw on his experience as a freshman when the Fighting Hawks won their eighth National Championship back in 2016.

"We always talk about how big of a grind it actually was and how much of a battle it was on a daily basis," recalled Wolanin. "We didn't just show up on the first day of the year and have it happen for us. It was a process and we grew as a team as the season went and that's what we've been trying to work on this year."

Currently ranked 13th in the national rankings, North Dakota will have their work cut out for them but with the way the NCAA playoffs and tournament structure exists, it's anyone's game once the puck drops.

"That's the good thing about college hockey, you're never really out of it until you go to the tournament," he said. "We're ranked #13 so obviously there are 12 other teams ahead of us but if we can get it to click at the right time and we play the way we know we're capable of, it's anybody's tournament."


Some numbers:

Here's a look at Wolanin's career stats at the University of North Dakota as of March 1st, 2018:






























    From his coach:

    "He's gone through some adversity, but he grew as a person and a player. If you look at his freshman year to now, where he is and how he's grown as a player and a person, it's exponential." - UND coach Brad Berry on Wolanin's development

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