Friday, July 6, 2018

Reigning OHL MVP Kyrou's play will decide next step in career

2016 second-round pick focused on making it to NHL, training 
camp will decide whether 20-year-old starts with Blues or San Antonio

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- A dream season last year for being named the Ontario Hockey League regular-season most valuable player, Jordan Kyrou hopes it's the final piece to paving the way to a solid professional career.

Jordan Kyrou
Kyrou, a 2016 second-round pick, could have only made last season even better had the Sarnia Sting won the OHL title. That distinction went to future Blues teammate Robert Thomas and the Hamilton Bulldogs, but the 20-year-old Kyrou, who had 109 points (39 goals, 70 assists) in 56 games last season, isn't complaining.

"Many words. It was a true honor to receive that award," Kyrou said during Blues prospect camp that began June 26. "To have my name beside past recipients of that award is incredible. It was truly an honor.

"I had a good year, our team had a good year. I thought I worked on a lot of things I needed to work on, like little parts of my game. It was a good year."

Being 6-foot, 177 pounds, Kyrou has accomplished all he could at the junior level. Now is the time to move on up. He continues to build his body and have it geared towards at the very least, the American Hockey League, where he could begin the season, or even the NHL if he comes into training camp and dazzles like he did many times during his Sting tenure.

A three-time participant in the prospect camp, Kyrou displayed his speed and skill throughout the week, particularly during the 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 competition. But there were obvious workable traits Kyrou wanted to hone in on throughout his week working with coaches in the organization.

"Of course my defensive game and be harder on the puck, being harder on my battles," Kyrou said. "... To make it up there, you have to be defensively reliable. That was one part of my game I've been working on a lot.

"Last couple years, I just come to camp, learn, get to meet everybody and go back to junior. This year is different. This year is I'm trying to make the team."

Which team? Obviously the Blues, but that will be up to Kyrou, who also had a solid World Junior Championship for gold medal-winning Canada with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in seven games.

"[Kyrou] had a great year," Blues director of player development Tim Taylor said. "We put a lot of emphasis on this, but at the world junior, it's a big moment, especially when it's in and around the Canada area. It was in Buffalo this year and across the border, there's 20,000 people watching. In the big games, he was the best player. That's what you look for in these guys, the big moments, and he's always been that throughout this year and I think that's the biggest accolade you can say throughout this year. He's a dynamic goal scorer with a huge amount of speed. Right now, we just want to get his frame a little bigger and be ready for the NHL. His speed is his biggest asset. If he continues to utilize that at the NHL level, he'll have a lot of success.

"As a 19-year-old, you're always trying to instill, 'yes, come here,' but in the back of your mind, he (knew) he had another year in juniors so you always have that in the back as a crutch and, 'I'll probably go back to junior unless I wow everyone.' We're a pretty deep organization. We have a lot of depth and unfortunately at the start of last year, we lost a lot because of injuries but with our young guys now and with a guy like him, I think that when they turn 20 years old, it all of the sudden clicks on. Like, 'OK, now's my time.' I think with the mindset, that's what he has coming into training camp. But at the end of the day, he will dictate to us at the end of training camp if he's ready or not and his play will let us know whether he needs some time in the minors or he's ready right now. It's a big summer for him and mentally it's a big step for him as well to understand what a pro is all about and again, you have those junior tendencies where you can take a game off or shift off and you come to the NHL, you've got to be responsible at both ends of the rink and the coach can trust you. Those are learning experiences as young guys they need to understand right away. They think they know it, but sometimes it takes a little bit longer to kind of instill that into their every day play. We're hoping guys understand that now and we're trying to instill that but at the end of the day, you don't get to really experience that until you get to the highest level."
(Sarnia Sting photo)
Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou was named OHL regular-season MVP this
past season after getting 109 points (39 goals, 70 assists) in 56 games.

Kyrou, who had 94 points (30 goals, 64 assists) in 2016-17 with the Sting, knows instant success won't get translated to the next level, whether it be in St. Louis or San Antonio of the American Hockey League. That's 

"Just continue to work hard this summer, put weight on and continue to get stronger," Kyrou said. "I think it's just a day to day kind of thing. I just want to focus on the things you can focus on and the things to do to get better and the things you can do to show them what you've got. It's been my goal since the beginning of the summer, so I just want to continue to work at it.

"It's exciting, but I'm not there yet. I've just got to continue to work and to earn my spot."

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