Lind showcasing strong game all over ice

Aaron Vickers2017 Draft Center, Features, WHL

Marissa Baecker | Shoot The Breeze

The numbers speak for themselves.

Twenty-five goals.

Sixty-six points.

But Kelowna Rockets forward Kole Lind is focused on another one.


As in the number of feet in his game.

“To be a pro it’s all about two-way hockey,” said Lind, 58th in Future Considerations’ Winter 100 for the 2017 NHL Draft.

“Scoring goals is one thing for sure, and getting points, but you’ve got to be responsible in your own end and take care of business in your own end before anything happens on the other side of the rink.”

The offense has come in spades for the 18-year-old.

He’s already eclipsed his 14-goal, 41-point rookie season with the Rockets last year with two months still remaining in the regular season schedule.

The production is no surprise.

The defense coach Jason Smith has seen isn’t either.

Not with the work that the Shaunavon, SK. native has put in.

“Cole’s a gifted offensive player that shoots the puck well, sees the ice well. He’s an underrated skater,” Smith detailed. “He’s really working at progressing at becoming a 200-foot player. I think as his game grows that way he’s going to impress more and more people as a player that has a 200-foot player and not just a scorer.”

The approach has helped Lind’s draft stock.

His game, too.

“It honestly helps me a lot,” Lind said. “Instead of cheating in front of the play, I stay more with the play and come out as a group. Making plays and scoring goals comes a lot from that. Going to the net that really helps a lot instead of trying to do it all yourself and trying to take off for breakaways.

“It’s really helped me produce this year.

“When stuff’s working you have to stick with everything that’s happened right.”

Cal Foote has seen it first hand.

Foote, Lind’s teammate and fellow 2017 draft eligible, has had to face the effort — both offensively and defensively — day-in, day-out in practice.

“I think he’s a really good player,” Foote said. “He has a lot of skill. When he gets the puck off there’s a good chance of it going in. I think he’s a smart player. He sees the ice well. I think he’s developed a lot the past two years. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of player he can be.

“A lot”

NHL teams, too.

“He’s getting lots of attention and I think that’s a credit to the way he’s played,” Smith said. “I think a lot of it’s come because he’s not just honed in on playing offense. He’s trying to complete the cycle of being a player that can play the whole rink and be effective and be a reliable guy.

“There’s lots of players who have scored lots in junior and have never played anywhere else. He’s really working on growing his game as a complete player and that’s what you want out of young guys that are looking to move on.”

Lind has felt that pressure.

But it hasn’t gotten to him yet.

“I think the pressure wears off a little bit,” he said. “After the first couple of games you get used to the thousands of people and all the scouts being at games.

“You try to push it away during the games and try not to pay attention to the scouts and just play your game and show them what you have to offer, but at the same time it’s always in the back of my mind. For sure it’s exciting.

“Hopefully I can step on that stage at the end of the year.”

With Lind’s numbers, it’s almost assured.