Future Watch: Kyle Bigos
Oilers prospect Kyle Bigos & Merrimack College enjoying big success in 2011-12
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.
|20||9||1||1||2||-1||59||Stockton Thunder (ECHL)|
|23||15||2||6||8||+4||4||Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)|
|21||15||11||2||13||+5||7||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||11||5||4||11||+9||11||Kootenay ice (WHL)|
|18||-||-||-||-||-||-||edmonton oil kings (WHL)|
|33||11||5||7||12||+6||2||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||10||0||3||3||-2||2||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|21||15||7||4||11||+1||4||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|25||13||0||2||2||+1||11||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|27||16||4||8||12||+7||12||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|22||8||2||1||3||0||12||stockton thunder (echl)|
|20||11||0||4||4||-3||0||stockton thunder (ECHL)|
|24||7||1||6||7||+2||4||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|24||15||2||3||5||+4||34||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||21||10||3||13||+11||30||edmonton oil kings (WHL)|
|19||14||2||2||4||-3||0||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|20||16||5||2||7||-7||4||ilves tampere (sm-liiga)|
|25||21||6||6||12||-7||12||vaxjo hc (SEL)|
|18||19||11||10||21||+3||8||kitchener rangers (OHL)|
|25||15||3||3||6||-1||13||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|22||7||0||1||1||+4||2||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|24||16||1||3||4||-1||6||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||17||4||12||16||+6||28||acadie-bathurst titan (QMjhl)|
|19||4||0||1||1||-1||2||OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (AHL)|
|20||21||6||14||20||+9||29||regina pats (wHL)|
|18||21||6||13||19||+9||10||edmonton oil kings (WHL)|
|18||12||0||0||0||+2||0||farjestads bk karlstad (SEL)|
|19||16||2||8||10||+3||15||prince george cougars (WHL)|
|22||10||0||2||2||+4||8||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|18||22||1||11||12||+8||51||vancouver giants (WHL)|
|23||2||0||1||1||+1||2||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|22||15||0||5||5||+7||48||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|18||10||0||1||1||0||0||u. of north dakota|
|21||13||2||3||5||+3||27||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||20||13||5||2||2.58||.922||medicine hat tigers (WHL)|
|30||11||8||3||0||2.09||.933||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|18||-||-||-||-||-||-||Jyp ht jyvaskyla (sm-liiga)|
|20||6||0||3||3||2.59||.911||stockton thunder (echl)|
|20||7||4||1||2||2.65||.905||jokerit helsinki (sm-liiga)|