Edmonton Oil Kings’ center Brett Pollock has rocketed up the draft charts in half a season — and he’s hoping that getting going in this year’s MasterCard Memorial Cup Tournament will help him gain even more notice.
“I was a little shocked to see that I jumped up that much, but I’m happy with my game and how I’ve been playing,” he explained. “I think the first two games of this tournament weren’t my best, but I’ve been getting better each game and I hope that continues on the next couple of days.”
Pollock said there was no smoke and mirrors behind his ascension from 71 at the midterm to 34 in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft.
“I think just playing my game,” he added. “I just tried to work on my consistency and my physical play — just using my tools and my skills and my skating. I think that really helped me.”
Pollock, a 6’2", 185-pound center, finished the season with 25 goals and 30 assists 71 games. He led the Oil Kings with 11 goals in the WHL playoffs. He said he knows the scouts are watching, but he’s trying to focus on the task at hand.
“It’s in the back of your mind throughout the year and it is kind of there. But it’s not something I try to focus on at all,” Pollock added. “I just try to focus on each individual game and winning a championship — like we did at the WHL Championship, hopefully we’ll do the same this weekend.”
And he’s trying to enjoy this weekend for all it’s worth. “It’s a pretty cool experience. It’s definitely not something that everyone gets to go through,” Pollock explained. “To be here and soak it all in, it’s pretty neat. I couldn’t ask for a better experience.”
Though his focus is on the next few days, leading up, hopefully, to an appearance in Sunday’s Memorial Cup final, he said he already knows how he’s going to approach his summer.
“I think I just need to get stronger. I think I really developed a lot last summer — I was on the ice a lot and in the gym,” he said. “This summer I need to do the same — just hit the gym a lot with as much time as I can and hopefully come back next year a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger, and a little bit better.”
As a native of Sherwood Park, AB, essentially a suburb just east of Edmonton, Pollock has appreciated the opportunity to play for his hometown Oil Kings.
“I actually did go to a couple of games when they started playing again [in 2007-08] and I followed them pretty closely,” he said. “To go there was a pretty cool experience.
“I don’t think there’s added pressure. There’s always pressure, but to have my family and friends there to support me has been a pretty cool experience.”
He was a little more reluctant about divulging his Oilers’ affiliation, though.
“Yeah…I mean, a little bit,” he said, tentatively. “I am pretty loyal to the Oilers and I do like watching them play.
“But they need some work, that’s for sure.”
So would he like to be a part of that rebuild?
“Yeah,” he said. “But I’ll go anywhere."
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