Brady Pouteau’s first full season in the WHL is going at a much slower pace.
The Regina Pats defenceman made his debut last season during the team’s second-round playoff series with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
“It feels a lot different that’s for sure. Going from the ice time that I did get in those games to where I am now, it’s a big difference,” he said.
“I was just more nervous, now I’m more relaxed and playing my game.”
Being a rookie defenceman at any level of hockey is never easy. There’s always an adjustment to the higher level of skill from the players you’re trying to keep from getting a free pass to the net.
So far, Pouteau’s season has been going well, as he’s played in all 14 games picking up four points and a plus-three rating along the way. Overall, Pouteau believes the game is starting to slow down for him.
“I’m feeling more comfortable, just making the plays I need to make,” he said.
Even though Pouteau is now comfortable in the WHL, he’s not letting complacency set in.
The Oak Bluff, MB native used to describe himself as a stay-at-home defenceman. However, the way the game is played now, Pouteau knows he has to add some offence to his game.
“It’s a two-way game for sure. Everyone needs to play offence and defence. Everyone needs to adapt, everyone needs to adjust to playing more offensively now,” he said.
As Pouteau continues to work on being a more effective defenceman, other areas of his game have not suffered.
Amazingly, Pouteau has yet to take a penalty yet this season at a position where you could get caught hooking or holding to slow down your opponent’s progress.
Staying out of the box is something Pouteau takes a lot of pride in.
“If I play positionally well, I don’t think those penalties will come. If I do get penalties, it’s because I tend to be slacking off. Hopefully I won’t be slacking off too much,” he said.
Pouteau’s start to the season has been an important one for the Pats.
Captain Colby Williams remains sidelined with an off-season injury, one that could keep him out of the lineup for a while yet. Connor Hobbs’ status is also questionable now after suffering an injury against the Moose Jaw Warriors over the weekend.
The Pats travel to Swift Current on Friday evening to face the Broncos for the first time this season. They return home on Saturday to take on the Victoria Royals at the Brandt Centre.