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FUTURE WATCH
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Future Watch: Kyle Bigos

Oilers prospect Kyle Bigos & Merrimack College enjoying big success in 2011-12

Friday, 18.11.2011 / 3:03 AM / Future Watch
By Mike Benton  - Stockton Thunder
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Future Watch: Kyle Bigos
Kyle Bigos
Kyle Bigos remembers the times as a mite that he skated onto the ice at Honda Center – a surface dominated by physically mature specimen known as the Anaheim Ducks.

Top it off with a tour of the dressing rooms, and Bigos had all the motivation in the world to turn his dream of becoming a professional hockey player from Southern California into reality.

“I think about it before bed, thinking about my day if I got better or took step back,” said Bigos, who originally grew up in Upland, California, a town tucked away 35 minutes north of Anaheim, before moving on to Merrimack College. “You get a sense of what it would feel like and get that driving ambition – whether it’s working in the gym, putting on that (Oilers) jersey and playing the best I could play.”

That one time mite has turned into a behemoth himself. Blossoming into a 6-foot-5 and 240 pound frame, Bigos was selected by the Oilers in the ninth round and has steadily improved into a defencemen that intimidates Hockey East forwards every shift with his mere physical presence.

His calling card is a “stay at home” game that feasts on punishing opposing players with bone jarring hits. But his enhanced offensive skills translated into a red hot start this season, directly correlating with a torrid run for the Warriors themselves.

Through nine games, Bigos has posted five points (1g-4a) and a +12 rating. Merrimack has also sprinted out to an 8-0-1 start, remaining as the lone unbeaten team in the country.

“Point wise I try not to be one of those guys that thinks about it,” said Bigos, whose Warriors are ranked #2 in the NCAA. “I’m not relied on to be an offensive threat. Certainly it does feel good to have that in my game as well as being a stay at home defenceman in trying to shut down other teams’ top lines.”

There’s been no doubt as to what his objectives are during his pursuit to put on an Oilers sweater. He left with ambition and desire en route to Oilers Development Camp, and returned with a brain stuffed full of drills, reminders and pointers.

“When I was at Oilers camp they gave you rundown of everything from strength and conditioning to mental health, nutrition, skating, and playing the game,” said Bigos. “It was a real eye opener. They gave you all tools and it’s up to you to use them.” Most notably, Bigos can’t eat like the average college kid on Merrimack’s campus and consistently scarf burgers, pizza and ice cream with reckless abandon.

Instead, his goal to evolve into an elite conditioned prospect has been fueled by a strict diet and nutrition regimen which was implemented by the Oilers and aided by his brother, Chris, a former United States Marine.

Every meal is planned in rigorous structure. Bigos must watch what he eats and when he eats it. Every type of carbohydrate, protein, sugar must be accounted for and consumed in different amounts – even before and after a workout.

“When I sat down with my brother he worked out a meal plan and ever since then it’s been easier,” said Bigos. “I’ve felt my energy boost coming up, weight going down but the strength stays the same for most part. That’s a real key to success this year on the ice.”

Oilers Director of Player Development Mike Sillinger recently noted Bigos’ potential during the summer.

“His big thing is mobility,” said Sillinger when he spoke at Development Camp. “He’s got to work on his mobility and puck skills a bit. He’s a big guy and I’ve watched him play several times last couple of years. He’s a big guy, hits hard and he’s got to put fear in the opposition.”

Oiler fans have seen their share of behemoth rearguards patrol the blueline and the front of the net, ranging from Cup winners like Jeff Beukeboom to blue chip prospects such as Colten Teubert. As Bigos tries to fit his way into the Oilers future plans in that same mold, his eye is also on the NHL’s top talent that play roles in shutting down the opposition.

“Being in Boston I’ve been watching Zdeno Chara a lot,” said Bigos. “I really like Adam McQuaid and the way he plays. I like watching defensemen in general and watching how they play – mainly stay at home defensemen and the hard hitters.”

Aspiring prospects may elaborate on watching the elite playmaking magicians who make the nightly NHL highlight reel. Bigos prefers the “blue collar” variety.

“When I watch players I like to see guys sacrificing bodies, blocking shots, getting physical, and being team player,” said Bigos. “Watching defencemen just move puck, make simple and smart plays, and jump up into the play, it’s real fun watching that and I realize that’s way I have to play.”

His body, game and ambition are nothing but stronger.

Forwards


Name age GP G A P +/- PIM team
Cameron Abney   20 9 1 1 2 -1 59 Stockton Thunder (ECHL)
Mark Arcobello   23 15 2 6 8 +4 4 Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)
Alexander Bumagin   24 17 2 3 5 -1 4 Novokuznetsk Metallurg
Philippe Cornet   21 15 11 2 13 +5 7 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Drew Czerwonka   19 11 5 4 11 +9 11 Kootenay ice (WHL)
Travis Ewanyk   18 - - - - - - edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Josh Green   33 11 5 7 12 +6 2 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Curtis Hamilton   19 10 0 3 3 -2 2 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Teemu Hartikainen   21 15 7 4 11 +1 4 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Tanner House   25 13 0 2 2 +1 11 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Kellen Jones   21 13 5 7 12 0 16 quinnipiac university
Ryan Keller   27 16 4 8 12 +7 12 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Milan Kytnar   22 8 2 1 3 0 12 stockton thunder (echl)
Ryan Martindale   20 11 0 4 4 -3 0 stockton thunder (ECHL)
Linus Omark   24 7 1 6 7 +2 4 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Ryan O'Marra   24 15 2 3 5 +4 34 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Kristians Pelss   19 21 10 3 13 +11 30 edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Tyler Pitlick   19 14 2 2 4 -3 0 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Toni Rajala   20 16 5 2 7 -7 4 ilves tampere (sm-liiga)
Liam Reddox   25 21 6 6 12 -7 12 vaxjo hc (SEL)
Tobias Rieder   18 19 11 10 21 +3 8 kitchener rangers (OHL)
Hunter Tremblay   25 15 3 3 6 -1 13 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Antti Tyrvainen   22 7 0 1 1 +4 2 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Chris VandeVelde   24 16 1 3 4 -1 6 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Defencemen
Name age GP G A P +/- PIM team
Kyle Bigos   22 9 1 4 5 0 39 merrimack college
Jeremie Blain   19 17 4 12 16 +6 28 acadie-bathurst titan (QMjhl)
Taylor Chorney   19 4 0 1 1 -1 2 OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (AHL)
Brandon Davidson   20 21 6 14 20 +9 29 regina pats (wHL)
Martin Gernat   18 21 6 13 19 +9 10 edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Oscar Klefbom   18 12 0 0 0 +2 0 farjestads bk karlstad (SEL)
Martin Marincin   19 16 2 8 10 +3 15 prince george cougars (WHL)
Johan Motin   22 10 0 2 2 +4 8 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
David Musil   18 22 1 11 12 +8 51 vancouver giants (WHL)
Jeff Petry   23 2 0 1 1 +1 2 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Alex Plante   22 15 0 5 5 +7 48 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Dillon Simpson   18 10 0 1 1 0 0 u. of north dakota
Colten Teubert   21 13 2 3 5 +3 27 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Goalies
Name age GP w l T GAA SV% team
Tyler Bunz   19 20 13 5 2 2.58 .922 medicine hat tigers (WHL)
Yann Danis   30 11 8 3 0 2.09 .933 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Samu Perhonen   18 - - - - - - Jyp ht jyvaskyla (sm-liiga)
Olivier Roy   20 6 0 3 3 2.59 .911 stockton thunder (echl)
Frans Tuohimaa   20 7 4 1 2 2.65 .905 jokerit helsinki (sm-liiga)


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