Can Cole Linaker come into his own in his second full season in the WHL?
The Edmonton, Alberta product showed last season that with increased ice time, specifically in playoffs, he can not only bring energy to the team but he is able to sprinkle in some offense as well.
With injuries to J.T Barnett, Carter Rigby and Colton Sissons heading into the 2013 playoffs, Linaker took on a larger role and frankly prospered under the increased workload.
In 11 playoff games last season, the likable Linaker scored three goals and collected five assists, including a goal and an assist in a crucial game four series against Kamloops in the Western Conference semi final.
No bad for a fourth line player who has just three goals in 43 regular season games.
The 6th round bantam pick from four years ago, Linaker isn't going to put up massive numbers in the WHL.
In saying that, is 20 goals in the next two years out of the question for a player who is responsible in his own zone, takes pride in his work at the face-off circle and provides hustle on the penalty killing unit?
I don't think its to far off the mark.
If Linaker develops into the player the scouting staff envisioned, the 2010 bantam draft may go down as one of the best ever.
The Rockets have five players from that draft making significant contributions, led by Jesse Lees, Madison Bowey, Tyson Baillie, Linaker and Mitch Wheaton. That group of 18 year-old's has yet to really mature.
The good news is the best is yet to come!
(Photo of Linaker courtesy of Shoot the Breeze Photography)
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