Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Slater Koekkoek Autographed Card

After two unsuccessful turns in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and a decent 29-game showing last year, the Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed Slater Koekkoek to a one-year deal over the summer worth $800K.

The 23-year-old, 6'2", 193-pound rearguard was the Bolts' first pick of the 2012 draft (10th overall) was dominant in last year's AHL playoffs and will look to build on that to stick with the Lightning.

What you get from Koekkoek is a bit of everything. He was drafted to be a good second-pairing defender with the ability to quarterback a powerplay, good speed, the cardio to play a high-tempo game, an accurate first pass, good play-making ability and a heavy, accurate shot. He had also captained the OHL's Peterborough Petes and been an alternate captain on a U-18 Team Canada that won gold at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, so there was some leadership to his game.

In last year's Calder Cup Final run with the Syracuse Crunch, however, he added "shut-down defender" and "penalty-kill specialist" to his skill set.

That's not to say he can do all these things against the likes of Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid in the best league in the world, but it cements his potential as a #3 defender, no doubt. And if you factor in the fact that Tampa already has Norris Trophy contender Victor Hedman and added a guy who could win one in the next decade this summer in Mikhail Sergachev, an excellent #3 is just what they need anyway.

I already see them winning the Atlantic Division this year, maybe we should just go ahead and pencil them in for the next five years.

Here is Koekkoek wearing the "C" on the Petes' purple uniform, on card #76 from In The Game's 2012-13 Heroes And Prospects set:
He signed it in blue sharpie after a game against his hometown Ottawa Senators during the 2014-15 season.

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