Future Watch: Hunter Tremblay
Free-agent addition Hunter Tremblay recaps a momentous year & looks ahead to '11-12
Hunter Tremblay collected 1 assist in 5 post-season games with the Barons (Photo by Steven Christy / OKC Barons).
Tremblay produced 22 goals and 44 points in 27 games with the Varsity Reds this season, leading his team in scoring and in the locker room as he captained the club to national supremacy.
Although his time in New Brunswick ended on a high, his future was still uncertain as March and the venture toward UNB's ultimate goal moved forward. Prior to his career in the CIS, Tremblay spent five seasons with the OHL's Barrie Colts, where he amassed 284 points in 317 career games.
This was a player that had achieved so much, but was an undrafted commodity patiently awaiting his opportunity. Along came the Edmonton Oilers during that late-March stretch, helping to accomplish the dream of a willing 25-year-old.
"We (UNB) hosted the Nationals a couple weeks ago in Fredericton, New Brunswick and I met with one of the head scouts during the week of the tournament," Tremblay explained. "It all happened pretty quick from there. After the final game and we'd won the championship, I got a phone call and we ended up getting it done."
It happened so quickly, in fact, that Tremblay was signed only four days later on Mar. 31 to a one-year, two-way contract with Edmonton.
"It's been a goal of mine for a couple years now [to sign an NHL contract], so to finally reach my goal and sign on the dotted line, it feels pretty good. I'm very proud of that."
A week later, Tremblay signed an Amateur Tryout Agreement with the Oklahoma City Barons, where his 2010-11 season was extended to help the team in its inaugural playoff quest. The gritty winger suited up for eight games, including five in the post-season, where he provided one assist and a stable, two-way presence vs. Hamilton.
Tremblay has only been part of the organization for a month, but he says his experience so far has been extremely positive as he begins to unpack his luggage from the previous ranks.
"Awesome," Tremblay said of the welcoming environment. "I've been treated with nothing but the best since I've been here. The coaches, trainers and managers are amazing, and guys are used to having new guys come in at this time of the year, so everyone was very welcoming. It's a great bunch of guys."
Although this opportunity provided Tremblay with his first crack at pro-level post-season play, he believes that the differences were not all that striking from his experience with Barrie and UNB in high-pressure games.
"Playoff hockey is all about winning one game at a time. You have the same end goals in mind," Tremblay said. "The main difference is the size, speed and strength of the guys. It was good to come down here and get my feet wet. I was able to learn the ropes and size myself up against the competition. It's a good thing going into next year."
That experience could be extremely valuable going into next season. Having played over 300 career games in Barrie, Tremblay was used to the pressure-packed and overall busy schedule that the OHL provided. His transition from junior to the CIS meant that he was now playing 25-30 games per season, rather than 60-70.
"I took full advantage of those full seasons when I could," Tremblay chuckled. "It doesn't feel like a short season when you're there because you've got your school and it's kind of condensed, so you're playing lots of hockey. I actually liked it."
Even so, Tremblay understands that he needs to prepare for the physical challenge of an 80-game schedule; something he will be introduced to next season with the Barons or Oilers.
"I'll have to have a big summer in terms of fitness and preparing for that many games. That's one of my focuses for next year and I'm going to work hard during the summer to make sure I'm ready. It will be fun."
Specifically, "speed and strength" will accentuate his summer workload.
"Those are the biggest things for sure," Tremblay said. "You obviously want to be stronger, and being faster never hurts you no matter where you are, so those two things will be the main focus of my off-season plan."
With another leap of progress now behind him en route to his NHL dream, Tremblay believes he possesses a number of attributes that will translate well to the big-league style someday soon.
"I think my ability to make quick decisions is the best thing," he said. "I try to play a smart, two-way game. I really take pride in that. But like everyone, I love to score goals and contribute that way. I get in hard on the forecheck, get physical and try to create turnovers. I love playing on the PK, too."
Tremblay's array of skill has already proven lethal in other leagues. Now, his challenge begins anew as he aims for a roster spot in Edmonton, potentially realizing a life-long dream that resurfaced only a few weeks ago.
"I'm at a new level now, so I'll see where I stack up next season. I'll come into camp with an open mind and take advantage of whatever opportunities come my way."
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com
2010-11 OILERS PROSPECT STATS (PLAYOFFS)
|19||4||1||0||1||-2||6||Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)|
|22||6||1||1||2||-1||0||OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (AHL)|
|20||0||0||0||0||0||0||Oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|18||8||1||2||3||E||4||kootenay ice (WHL)|
|23||-||-||-||-||-||-||university of maine (h-east)|
|26||0||0||0||0||0||0||OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (AHL)|
|29||6||2||1||3||-1||2||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|19||0||0||0||0||0||0||OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (AHL)|
|20||6||0||1||1||-2||4||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|20||-||-||-||-||-||-||quinnipiac university (ecac)|
|21||1||0||0||0||E||0||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|19||-||-||-||-||-||-||timra ik (sel)|
|23||0||0||0||0||0||0||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|18||4||3||2||5||-3||2||ottawa 67's (ohl)|
|26||6||1||1||2||-1||6||Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)|
|31||6||1||2||3||-2||2||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|23||6||0||2||2||E||0||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|24||6||1||2||3||E||4||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|28||6||1||1||2||+3||0||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|18||4||0||2||2||-1||6||edmonton oil kings (WHL)|
|19||0||0||0||0||0||0||medicine hat tigets (whl)|
|19||-||-||-||-||-||-||ilves tampere (fnl)|
|24||-||-||-||-||-||-||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|24||6||0||2||2||+1||21||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|25||5||0||1||1||+1||2||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|23||6||1||0||1||+2||6||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|22||2||0||0||0||E||2||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|22||4||0||1||1||N/A||2||stockton thunder (echl)|
|21||-||-||-||-||-||-||merrimack college (h-east)|
|18||4||2||2||4||-5||4||acadie-bathurst titan (qmjhl)|
|23||-||-||-||-||-||-||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|19||1||0||0||0||-1||0||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|19||-||-||-||-||-||-||sioux city musketeers (ushl)|
|18||4||1||4||5||-4||6||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|21||1||0||1||1||N/A||0||stockton thunder (echl)|
|28||6||0||0||0||+1||4||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|23||6||0||1||1||-1||4||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|21||5||0||0||0||E||12||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|18||10||4||6||0||1||2.97||.912||medicine hat tigers (whl)|
|26||1||0||1||0||0||9.00||.500||Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)|
|36||6||2||3||0||1||1.79||.931||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|22||1||0||1||0||0||9.00||.750||STOCKTON THUNDER (ECHL)|
|19||3||0||2||0||0||6.88||.739||acadie-bathurst titan (qmjhl)|