Moving Motivates Zablocki
For Lane Zablocki, the 2017-18 WHL season could best be described as an adventure.
His season began with the Red Deer Rebels, but then he was traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. But Zablocki had barely unpacked when nine games into his tenure with the Hurricanes ended and he was on the move again, this time to the Prince George Cougars.
The Rebels got Zablocki last season from the Regina Pats, so he’s played for five teams over the past two seasons.
“It was an interesting season,” Zablocki said. “Bounced around a little bit, but I feel like at the end I kind of got back to myself and more the way I could play.”
All that moving took a toll on his totals. Zablocki, 19, selected 79th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2017 NHL entry draft, finished with 12 goals and 31 points in 65 games.
“Throughout the year it wasn’t the best year I’ve had,” Zablocki said. “Obviously you could see that.”
He tried to take the approach that the constant change of address can be a learning experience.
“Every time it’s a new place, new rink, new coaches,” Zablocki said. “You’ve got to take it in as much as you can. Each team, each coach has a lot that you can learn from. I think maybe that’s a good thing about it. Maybe the only good thing, but it was good.
“I learned a lot from all the different coaches I had.”
He’s also of the opinion that besides making him better at packing, the challenges Zablocki has faced over these past two seasons are also molding him into a better player.
“I think I got mentally stronger throughout the year, and that’s a big thing for my game,” Zablocki said. “At the start of the year I was kind of up and down, emotionally-wise.
“Going into this year, I know how to handle different situations and stay calm throughout everything, so I think that’s huge.”
Zablocki intends to apply the same approach as he skates for Detroit in next month’s NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Mich.
“Being there last year is huge,” Zablocki said. “You know what to expect. It’s a fast, hard-hitting tournament. I think that kind of plays into my style, too. I can use that to my benefit there.”
He’s the kind of player who likes to be in the middle of things, stirring the pot, and Zablocki believes he got away from that aspect of his game during last fall’s tournament.
“Yeah exactly,” Zablocki said. “That’s why I think it . . . last year I didn’t really get under people’s skins.
“This year it will be different.”
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