Yesterday’s ‘Back to School’ article on Portland Winterhawks defenseman Brendan De Jong completed the updates on the 2017 draft class. You can find a clickable menu for all eight articles HERE.
Today the ‘Back to School’ series jumps to the Carolina Hurricanes 2016 NHL Draft class and also makes its first stop in the Ontario Hockey League with a check in on Kingston Frontenacs goalie Jeremy Helvig.
As part of a reasonably common theme for the Hurricanes, 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 is slotted to return to Kingston in the OHL to play as an overager.
Interview with Kingston Goaltending Coach David Franco
About the interviewee
David Franco is the founder of Franco Canadian Goalie School. David has coached some of the world’s most elite goalies throughout the last 15 years. In addition, David played professionally in Europe and has coached at the NHL, AHL, OHL and European professional levels.
Interview on Jeremy Helvig
Canes and Coffee: How would you describe Jeremy Helvig’s 2016-17 season?
David Franco: Jeremy’s 2016-2017 season was one of his most consistent by far. He started this past season right where he left off season prior taking the starting job away from Lucas Peresinni.
Canes and Coffee: In what areas did Jeremy Helvig take the biggest steps development-wise in 2016-17?
David Franco: One of Jeremy’s biggest differences this year was his overall confidence and maturity. He has developed and has understood what it takes to change and play like a pro. His practice habits have improved tremendously and have carried on into his play.
Canes and Coffee: What areas do you see for further improvement as Jeremy Helvig continues his development with the hope of one day reaching the NHL?
David Franco: Jeremy must continue to develop and improve both mentally and physically. He must be able to take on and adapt to a greater workload, and he will need to understand how to manage this responsibility.
Canes and Coffee: Is there a current or former NHL goalie whose style of play and skill set are somewhat similar to Jeremy Helvig’s such that the comparable player could be a model for Helvig’s ongoing development?
David Franco: Jeremy has many similarities to Andrei Vasilevskiy. They both have good size, extremely technical and structured with good feet and both being very athletic. This is a tough combination to get with big goalies.
Canes and Coffee: Jeremy Helvig will have had a strong 2017-18 season in terms of both helping the Frontenacs win and earning a professional contract if he ______________________.
David Franco: If he continues to practice well, works on the small things to improve his game and learns to manage his workload.
Canes and Coffee: From coaching Jeremy Helvig, is there anything else that Carolina Hurricanes fans would be interested to know about Jeremy Helvig that is not covered in the questions above?
David Franco: Jeremy is a very quiet mild-mannered individual who is very well liked by all of his teammates. He has a great personality and a passion for this game. He is only a few short years away from becoming a pro.
Interview with Doug Graham from The Kingston Whig-Standard
About the interviewee
Doug Graham (Twitter=@dougout47) covers the Kingston Frontenacs for The Kingston Whig-Standard. Doug has been a journalist for 42 years . The Ontario Hockey League has always been his winter beat, and he has written about over 2,000 games.
Interview on Jeremy Helvig
Canes and Coffee: How would you describe/summarize Jeremy Helvig’s 2016-17 season? What were the highlights?
Doug Graham: Jeremy Helvig returned from the Hurricanes camp for Kingston’s third game of the 2016-17 season. He immediately set the tone with the first of six shutouts. Five of those came before the Christmas break. The Frontenacs were a light-weight scoring team and even unloaded players to recoup draft picks but with Helvig as the backbone of a well executed systematic style the Frontenacs finished fourth in the Eastern Conference.
Canes and Coffee: Relative to the 2015-16 season, what areas of Helvig’s game and/or results showed the most notable improvement?
Doug Graham: Helvig returned from his Carolina experience and it was evident his confidence was even higher than the previous season. He was a stalwart workhorse playing 3,446 minutes. He made all 11 starts in the team’s playoff run.
Canes and Coffee: Entering the offseason and now approaching the start of the 2017-18 season, what areas of Jeremy Helvig’s game still offer room for improvement at this early stage of his development as a young goalie?
Doug Graham: I would say the Frontenacs would be happy to have more of the same from Jeremy. He looks to be in great shape. That’s been the biggest improvement from his first year to now in Kingston. Physically he been that much stronger, making himself available to play so many games.
Canes and Coffee: As an overage player and OHL veteran in 2017-18, Jeremy Helvig will have had a strong season in terms of both helping Kingston win and winning a professional contract if he _________.
Doug Graham: …if he maintains his consistency. He only gave up more than four goals four times in 70 regular season and playoff starts last year. He failed to finish only three of the 70 games he started.
Canes and Coffee: Is there anything else either on or off the ice that Carolina Hurricanes fans tracking Jeremy Helvig from afar might be interested to know?
Doug Graham: From a media standpoint Jeremy has become a much better interview over the years. He’s quiet but thoughtful in his interviews.
For past coverage on Jeremy Helvig including a check in on him during the 2016-17, please visit his Canes and Coffee player page HERE.
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to Kingston Goalie Coach David Franco and Doug Graham from The Kingston Whig-Standard for generously sharing their insight on Hurricanes prospect Jeremy Helvig!