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travel_dude

Keegan Kanzig Signs With The Flames

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He's not 20 yet, so do you think he can play in the AHL in 2014? Not sure of the rules surrounding players in Junior after their season is done.

If his WHL team is finished for the season and the Heat are still playing he can play for the Heat.

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Steinberg is reporting via twitter that Kanzig has been traded to the Hitmen. Should make it easier for the Flames to keep tabs on him.

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He played last night, is healthy, but was a scratch tonight.....

Maybe we could get Austin Carroll in Cow too.

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I'm going to the Hitmen game this Friday, will definitely report back on Kanzigs play. I'll be only a few rows behind the penalty box so I imagon I'll see a lot of him

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Went to the Hitman game tonight (just beside the Oil King net) where they blew out the Oil Kings 6-2. Pretty dominant performance for the team, Kanzig had two assists and was the game 3rd Star. Here are my observations specifically of Keegan:

For those that haven't been following, Kanzig was acquired by the Hitmen a couple weeks ago and this is his 3rd or 4th game with them. He seems to be fairly well-integrated into the team though there was hesitation to pass to him on a couple of occasions.

Overall I noted 18 specific O-zone events and 24 specific D-zone events fairly evenly distributed through the game with more D events in the 3rd when the Oil Kings were really pressing trying to make a game of it.

The O events ranged from good board work, shots, passes, rushing the puck, puck retrieval and holding the line on a shoot around while only once losing the line on an Oil King breakout. In the first two periods he played 1st PP as the screen in front of the net. He never played the point on the PP. His points came after a shot and rebound, and head-manning the puck on a rush with a quick shot score. Overall it seemed like he wasn't being counted on offensively (except as PP screen) but was effective when he joined in.

The D events ranged from a fight, PK in the corners and in front of the net, breaking the cycle along the boards, an open ice hit, several good breakouts and lots of action in scrums standing up for his teammates. As it turned out he had three penalties: fought when challenged after a hit (and won), an Unsportsmanlike penalty for responding forcefully when Edmonton started chirping in a scrum and what I thought was a marginal hooking penalty. He had good to great coverage all night, pretty much controlling his side of the ice, including going stride for stride with a driving Oil King on a partial break then flipping him on his backside when he tried to cut to the net. His D play was very noticeable and impressive. I WAS specifically focusing on Kanzig so I might be biased but I thought he was the best D man on the ice by far.

General thoughts:

1. Two years ago at development camp Kanzig's skating kind of looked like a big body swaying back and forth as he lumbered up the ice. Last year he definitely seemed to be improved and tonight I was very impressed. Zero swaying, just legs churning and steady flow up the ice. Forward he seemed to be fast, easily keeping up with everyone on both teams, backwards looks strange to me but I think I've just never really looked at backwards skating before...

2. Kanzig is huge, built like a brick you-know-what and doesn't take crap from anyone. It was impressive how he was sticking up for teammates at every opportunity (scrums), especially considering he is new to the team. Because of his size he's very strong on the boards and in front of the net. In addition his reach is immense. He's got a VERY LONG hockey stick and uses it effectively to poke check, keep opponents at bay and block lanes.

3. Not sure that I could state what great hockey sense is for D-men, but let's just say he was in constant communication with teammates on Face-offs and seemed to have excellent D positioning at all times.

As I mentioned at the start he was the game's 3rd Star. In retrospect very well-deserved...

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Just got home from the game about 20 minutes ago, here is what I noticed. Edit: was just behind the penalty box, just off center ice.

 

First Period: Kanzig playes like you would expect a 6'7 245 lb hockey player to. Definitely physical and a bit of a mean streak. 70 seconds in floors a player (clean hit) and then defended himself in a fight (Kanzig won). Got about 20 seconds of powerplay time, played on the Right Wing (not defense for PP) and was parked in front of the net as a screen - no one could move him from there. First Hitmen PK of the game, 2 minute minor Kanzig had 2 shifts, combining for about 1:40 of Icetime.

 

Second Period: A lot more physical play, took two minor penalties. 1 was Unsportsmanlike conduct (the other team took an unsportsmanlike conduct at the same time so was offset with a coincidental). Second was during a train of penalties for both teams, got 2 for roughing. Got another single shift of PP time again, dug a few pucks out of the corner and fed it to the point-men. Plenty of time on the PK here, 1 goal was given up - not on Kanzigs shift. You started to notice that the Hitmen coach really trusts Kanzig on important defensive faceoffs.

 

Third Period: Kanzig had 2 assists. First was when he pinched in, forced a turnover in the offensive zone and made a good pass through traffic. Second was a great stretch pass that sprung the Hitmen into a 2-on-1. Made several plays to keep the puck in the offensive zone, forced the opponents to ice the puck multiple times. Got involved in several scrums around the net - even dragged 2 guys out of the crease at the same time (one in each hand).

 

Overall: Big, physical and a bit of a mean streak. You notice him in every scrum when he is on the ice. Played exclusively on the Right Wing on powerplays (got about one shift for 15-20 seconds per powerplay) and you noticed how hard he was to move when he screened goalies. Also dug out pucks from the corners for the pointmen and forwards. In the defensive zone he was positionally sound, and throughout the game you didn't see many people in front of his goalie - they stopped trying when he was on the ice. Didn't take many penalties (one fight and 2 minors, only led to one powerplay against us), while drawing 2 penalties. You noticed that he needed some work on his skating, but if you watched him at the last two Flames camps there has been improvement in that area. Being sound positionally definitely helps cover the fact that he isn't the best skater (he wasn't the worst skater on the Hitmen either though, which is a plus). His work on keeping the puck in the offensive zone definitely made me wonder how he doesn't have more points. Only saw 2-3 shots from him in the game, and you could see that it wasn't his strong suit but he does make good passes.

 

This was only observations from this one game though, but I should get a chance to catch a few more and see if this was just a really good game for him or if he is worse than what he played. Either way, I was pretty impressed.

 

Also, can we get a topic title change, his name is Keegan Kanzig not Keenan Kanzig

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Kanzig is doing pretty good so far with the Hitmen:

2014-15 Regular Season Calgary Hitmen 9 0 5 5 9 35

2014-15 Regular Season Victoria Royals 21 0 6 6 5 51

I have high hopes for this "kid". The size of Chris Breen with a mean streak. Skating is the biggest concern, but if he can learn that, he could be a good piece for the future.

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Kanzig is doing pretty good so far with the Hitmen:

2014-15 Regular Season Calgary Hitmen 9 0 5 5 9 35

2014-15 Regular Season Victoria Royals 21 0 6 6 5 51

I have high hopes for this "kid". The size of Chris Breen with a mean streak. Skating is the biggest concern, but if he can learn that, he could be a good piece for the future.

Did we not just take on a pair of new conditioning and skating coaches?

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I believe we did DD. Top it off, he might even have some limited access to them currently as well seeing as he plays and works out in the saddledome (and is a Flames prospect so I highly doubt upper management would have a huge problem with him using those resources)

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Kanzig is +7 in 6 playoff games with only one assist. I think that +/- number says a lot because he isn't boosting it much with his own points, so what that tells me is he is good at not being on the ice when the opposition scores, which seems to indicate he's doing a good job at defence. That might be a size thing, so it may not translate fully to the NHL level, but I think he's on a good progression.

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I hope that a year or two in the AHL will give Kanzig the time to develop into a bottom 4 defense-man.

 

Optimistically I hope he turns a new gear and develops into a top 2 D-Man :)

 

Realistically I think he tops out as a 4 and most likely makes a solid 5 d-man. He has size, plays physical, has an edge and is smart enough to read the play. He doesn't get caught out of position often either. Hopefully a little offense comes for him but if not I think we still have a towering physical shut-down guy. His skating has improved since we drafted him (and improved since he got traded to the Hitmen as well). I'm positive he makes it to the NHL in about 3 years. What pairing depends on whether he finds a bit of offense to his game and how he does against bigger guys (In all likelihood he'll still be the biggest guy out there, not too many 6'7 245lb players in the league) who are prepared to still play physical against him.

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Offense does matter in junior hockey.  Engelland isn't an offensive player.  But throw him into the local rec game and he will put up a lot of points.  

 

Junior players that are good enough for the NHL put up points in junior. Almost universally.  They are just that much better then everyone else.  There are very few examples of junior players that haven't produced offensively that have had decent NHL careers.   

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