Today’s entry is #14 out of what will hopefully be a complete set of 17 prospects below the AHL level. You can find the full set of clickable links in the menu page HERE.
After completing four of five stops in the Western Hockey League, our “Midterms” series heads east and makes the second of two stops in the Ontario Hockey League to check in on goalie Jeremy Helvig.
Jeremy Helvig was selected in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Draft after being bypassed in the 2015 draft. Helvig boasts NHL size at 6 feet 4 inches tall and 207 pounds and is also credited for above average athleticism and quickness for his size which is a great starting point for developing into an NHL netminder. With Alex Nedeljkovic and Callum Booth already slated to fill two of the three goalie slots for the AHL and ECHL (and veteran AHLer Jeremy Smith added to fill a third), Helvig has returned to Kingston in the OHL to play as an overager. Helvig is playing to earn a professional contract for the 2018-19 season.
Interview with Allan Etmanski, pre-game host for Kingston Frontenacs television
About the interviewee
Allan Etmanski (Twitter=@allanetmanksi) is a recent cancer survivor and former hockey player turned sports broadcaster/reporter who hails from Wellington, Ontario and currently resides in Kingston, Ontario. Currently, he can be heard calling games for the Kingston Voyageurs of the OJHL and the RMC Paladins of the OUA, while hosting a pre-game show for the Kingston Frontenacs television broadcasts and filling in for other roles when needed. Allan has called action at the Hockey Canada Women’s U18 National Championships and the World Junior A Challenge. In addition to his television, Allan also was the host of an hour long sports show on 99.3 County FM called “The County Sports Connection” and also added to his body of work as a writer for the OJHL.
Interview on Jeremy Helvig
Canes and Coffee: How would you summarize Helvig’s play thus far during the 2017-18 season?
Allan Etmanski: I would summarize Helvig’s play this season as outstanding. He’s been their best player more often than not and is a big reason why the team decided to make a push towards a league title this year. Any time Kingston starts Jeremy Helvig, they have a chance to win. I would even go as far to say that he is the best in the Eastern Conference. I hesitate to say the entire league only because I don’t see the other side as often to fairly judge it, but he’s in the conversation.
Canes and Coffee: From watching Jeremy Helvig from season to season, what stands out about his game as most improved compared to his 2016-17 season?
Allan Etmanski: For myself, and I was a defenceman not a goalie, the biggest thing from last year to this year has been how Jeremy is able to maximize his efforts. He’s able to get the most out of his movements without over exerting himself. And to be quite frank, it’s been something I’ve noticed as he has progressed through his junior career. Early on it looked like he was still getting used to his arms and legs, but this year, and last, it really seemed like he became comfortable with them and knew what to do to be able to maximize his size and the tools at his disposable. This, combined with the way he takes the angles on shooters, is a big reason why there aren’t very many times you’ll see him beaten cleanly.
Canes and Coffee: As he works to earn a professional contract and continue his development toward playing in the NHL, what areas of his game still show room for improvement?
Allan Etmanski: The biggest thing I’ve noticed with Jeremy Helvig is that his puck handling could use a bit more development. In today’s game where the speed is so high, a goalie who can play the puck is such a valuable tool. There are moments when Kingston could have a quick break up ice, or when a quick outlet pass could kick start a breakout, but for some reason Helvig seems reluctant at times to play the puck. I have noticed that this year he has started to play it more often, but I still feel that with some work his puck handling skills could add a whole new dimension to an already good toolbox.
Canes and Coffee: If you were Jeremy Helvig’s agent and making a case for him to receive a professional/entry-level contract at the conclusion of this season, how would you make your case?
Allan Etmanski: If I was his agent the first thing I would say is that in an era of hockey where the bigger the goalie the better, Jeremy has an advantage standing 6’4”’ with an athletic makeup. The second thing I would point to is the fact that every year he has improved increasing his win totals each season while increasing his workload. And in his 2nd year of OHL hockey he wound up stealing the starting job in the playoffs from the #1. The third thing I would bring up is the fact that adversity makes Helvig a better goalie. If he has a bad game, which is rare, the one or ones following it usually involve him slamming the door shut. This season, everybody had Kingston pegged as a mid to lower conference playoff team, but because of Helvig’s play they’ve become contenders. With the extra pressure, Helvig has continued to be strong in the Kingston goal and at times even elevating his play. One other thing I would add is the accolades that he has accumulated over the years. These include 2012-13 OHL Gold Cup silver medal, 2013-14 OJHL Champion, 2013-14 Dudley Hewitt Cup Champion, OHL Best GAA & Save Percentage 2015/16, OHL Most Shutouts 2016-17, most shutouts in Kingston Frontenacs franchise history, and most wins in Kingston Frontenacs history.
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to Allan Etmanski, pre-game host for Kingston Frontenacs television for generously sharing his ‘from the rink’ insight on Hurricanes prospect Jeremy Helvig.