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.
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.