Development Camp 2013: Keegan Kanzig

Ryan Pike
July 30 2013 10:53AM

 

 

If there's one draft pick fans were anxious to see at Flames development camp early this month, it was Keegan Kanzig. The third round selection of the Flames in the 2013 Draft is gifted with immense physical size – he's roughly 6-6 and about 240 pounds – but because he plays for the Victoria Royals, fans don't know quite as much about him as they do WHL teams that come through Calgary more often.

As a result, a lot of people – including me – relied a bit more on stats and scouting reports to assess the pick than they would otherwise, and there were quite a few players with better offensive and defensive numbers available at Calgary's pick than Keegan Kanzig.

The fact that the Royals were a lower-tier playoff team and got beat out by the powerhouse Kamloops Blazers in the first round only compounds the mystery surrounding Kanzig. He opened quite a few eyes during the camp's scrimmages, joining the rush on one end of the ice and using his massive reach to break up offensive plays in his own zone. As somebody who was a bit skeptical of the pick when it was announced – and who admittedly barely saw Victoria this past season – I was really turned around on Kanzig when the week-long camp was over.

I had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Kanzig after one of the sessions. Disclosure: my first reaction when being introduced to him was “Holy moley, you're big!” Even without skates on, Keegan Kanzig is an absolute wall of humanity. If he can continue to work on his mobility – and his efforts in the scrimmages suggest that he has a good foundation to build upon – he may surprise some people in a few years. He's definitely got size on his size and, as the old saying goes, you can't teach size.

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Ryan Pike: Are you familiar with Calgary at all?

Keegan Kanzig: I'm from north of Edmonton, so I've been to Calgary a few times for a few different reasons. I really like the city. I think it's a great city and a good organization that's based out of here, too, and I'm really excited to be drafted by this organization.

Considering you grew up north of Edmonton, who did you cheer for growing up?

Well, obviously when I was a kid, Oilers being closest to home those are the games I was able to go see, and you became a bit of a fan of them. But that changed on draft day. [Chuckles]

Obviously you're a big physical defenseman. For those who haven't seen you play, can you describe your game?

I'm a defensive defenseman. Obviously, I have size working on my side, so I try to use that to my advantage and play physical and smart, be smart defensively and able to shut down other lines.

Were you surprised that you were chosen where you were at the draft? You were one of those guys that were all over the place depending on what draft rankings you looked at. Does it boost your confidence knowing that the Flames had such hopes for you that they took you where they did?

Yeah, it was a bit surprising. I didn't think I'd be going that early, but like I said, I'd like to go to the Flames and...see that they had some confidence in me, it does give me confidence as well and motivation to work hard and work at cracking their line-up.

Flames Development Camp Profiles

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#51 jai kiran
July 31 2013, 11:31AM
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TRAV wrote:

Also who was it that we drafted and didn't get signed and reentered the draft.. Maybe was picked by Edmonton? Same year as Lombardi I think...

Jarrett Stoll?

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#52 BurningSensation
July 31 2013, 12:09PM
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NHL93 wrote:

Martin St Louis was undrafted, if memory serves. Brett Hull kind of got away. Derek Morris? Hahaha.

St Louis was actually waived through the league at one (or more) point.

But he was definitely a guy we had on our training camp roster, and then roster, before he was let go. He would later sign in Tampa and the rest is history.

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#53 Baalzamon
July 31 2013, 12:32PM
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@TRAV

nope, the Flames drafted Anderson in the 3rd round in 1999. They didn't sign him, so he re-entered the draft, and was picked by Chicago. He then (after a few unimpressive seasons with the Hawks) left for Florida, where he suddenly and for seemingly no reason whatsoever became awesome.

Speaking of players ending up in Florida... Scott Gomez signed with the Panthers.

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#54 McRib
July 31 2013, 12:45PM
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@Justin Azevedo

Did anyone else even watch Keegan Kanzig this season?!?!?! The dude wasn't allowed to cross the offensive Blue Line... For all intensive purposes he was the only defender most shifts as partner Joe Hicketts basically was a fourth forward (Why Hicketts is not a forward is beyond me? If he ever wants to play past Junior he will have to change positions).

Kanzig's NHLE really doesn't bother me at this point, as he had more pinches in two games at developmental camp then he did all of last season.

Having played against Keith Aulie in Midget AAA still cannot get over how he made it?!?! Remember watching him in Brandon. Where they were hoping he would develop a two-way game his draft year. He got second unit PP time most games and only put up nine points (two more points than Kanzig). Aulie had more offensive opportunity in one game than Kanzig did all of his draft year. After that they decided to turn Aulie into a "shutdown defender".

Keegan Kanzig is a better skater at this point and is massive compared to the lanky Aulie. I'm not saying Kanzig is going to be anything more than a 5-6 defender at best, more likely an occasional call-up, but if Aulie can reach the show Kanzig can absolutely get there. The dude is 6'7" - 241!!! Already 24 Pounds heavier than a six year older Keith Aulie.

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#55 McRib
July 31 2013, 01:04PM
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Anyway Keegan Kanzig is a huge project I recognized that. But watching him last year of all the "no offensive big defensive projects" to come through the WHL every year. Kanzig has gotta be the only one in the last decade or so. Where I couldn't get over the kids size every time he stepped on the ice!! Honestly he is 247 Pounds and still filling out... How is he not 30???

He has a lot to work on, but he isn't huge for the WHL, he is huge compared to NHLers!!! I'm not betting against him thats for sure, at least worst case he ends up as a serviceable fighter/tough guy.

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