Friday, June 27, 2014
Kirkland is a Predator
The 17 year-old forward (He doesn't turn 18 until August 2nd) had a tremendous rookie season with 17 goals and had it not been for the spectacular play of 16 year-old teammate Nick Merkley, Kirkland would have been named the Kelowna Rockets rookie of the year.
Kirkland saw massive minutes in his first season in the WHL with time on the power play and playing on a line which often featured leading point producer Myles Bell.
Editors Note: Kirkland was taken in the 3rd round by the Nashville Predators this morning.
I had to question one reporter in Philadelphia who compared him to former Rockets sharp shooter Jamie Benn. Kirkland is a solid player yes, but Jamie Benn played with an edge which only added to his above average skill level. Kirkland is considerably more timid than Benn and will have to really increase his intensity level to be in the general ball park as the Dallas Stars captain. Kirkland has also been compared to former NHL'er Eric Cole. I would say that is more accurate.
Does Kirkland have the ability to play in the NHL down the road? When you possess that size and have that skill set, the Winnipeg born product has all the makings of being an impact player in the WHL and a solid second or third liner in the National Hockey League down the road.
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