Future Watch: Jeremie Blain
19-year-old rearguard recaps 2010-11 & looks ahead to a busy summer
Jeremie Blain produced 2 goals & 37 points, along with 48 penalty minutes and a +17 rating this season with the QMJHL's Acadie-Bathurst Titan (Francis Vachon Photography).
Helping 19-year-old defenceman Jeremie Blain develop into a promising NHL prospect has been that basic mantra. All three have value for a player looking to stamp his name in the Oilers' future plans.
The Longueuil, Quebec native's big-league dream was realized (or, at least, partially) when Edmonton stepped to the podium and selected Blain with the 91st overall pick last summer.
"It was a dream come true," he recalled. "It was so exciting. Having pictured that day since I was a kid growing up, it was obviously very exciting. It was a great feeling to have my family there, too."
Jeremie's brother, Luc-Olivier, played three seasons with the QMJHL's Chicoutimi Sagueneens where he posted impressive totals as a reliable, two-way pivot.
"He was a good player, too, so there was a rivalry there," laughed Jeremie.
While Olivier-Luc was unable to make an impression with NHL scouts, Jeremie had the best supporters available when his time came in June.
"My dad also played hockey, so having them all there really meant a lot. They knew exactly how hard I had to work to earn that shot with Edmonton."
Blain entered the summer with a renewed outlook, understanding that his challenge had only begun. The 6'2", 192-pound blueliner visited Edmonton in early July to partake in the annual Development Camp, introducing the typical NHL workload in an instant during that hot mid-summer week.
On-ice sessions and various team-building adventures dominated the schedule that week. Months of training followed, before hockey season resumed in September. Even with the hectic welcome to the NHL, Blain believes each experience provided valuable lessons.
"I need to get bigger and stronger, for sure. That's typical for any young kid," he said. "I also want to improve my skating as well. The Oilers really encouraged that. I don't think you can ever work on that enough."
Despite carrying these new skills and lesson-plans into the new season, his 2010-11 campaign was a roller coaster.
"I broke my foot in the second game back from the NHL camp and it didn't heal for nine weeks, so I had to wait that long before playing again. But after that, I think [the season] went really well. We had a good team. Unfortunately, it was a big disappointment because we lost in four games against a lower seeded team."
Although Acadie-Bathurst was unable to live up to some high post-season expectations, personal successes helped ease the disappointment of an early spring exit. In 2009-10, Blain produced four goals and 38 points, in the process accumulating a concerning minus-22 rating.
That all changed in 2010-11, however. In only 40 games, Blain's scoring totals continued to blossom. He nearly matched his previous season's total with two goals and 37 points in 24 fewer games. Perhaps most importantly, an indication that his two-way play had improved was also mirrored with an incredible plus-17 rating.
"I think I improved my defensive game, but the team was really good this year and we scored a lot of goals," Blain explained. "We were 17th out of 19 teams [last season], so ending up in the pluses was nearly impossible. This year we had 44 wins, so playing on a better team certainly helped in that area."
It's all part of the process to help Blain develop a well-rounded style -- a necessity as he prepares to make the jump to the next level someday soon.
"Overall, I want to be a two-way defenceman," he said. "I want to be good in my own zone and then be good on transition. I love to support the attack and be a force the other way as well.
"I like to model my game after John Carlson in Washington. He can pass, score, and be reliable in all situations. As a defenceman, I'd say he's my favourite NHL player right now."
Carlson, an opening round selection (27th overall) in 2008, spent three years in the USHL and OHL before making the professional leap when he was 19-years-old. He seasoned his game in the AHL before getting his shot with the Capitals a year later.
While making an impact at such a young age is challenging, Blain appears ready to meet the test head-on in preparation for another season of development and greater opportunity.
"I need to have a good summer of training, working out, and preparing for camp. It's always tough to break the lineup at 19, but I'm going [to camp] with the mindset to make the team."
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||12||2||3||5||-1||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)|