2004 Prospects: Q&A with Tyler Haskins

By Patrick King





Patrick King

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Tyler Haskins, a second year centerman playing with
the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors, is eligible for the 2004 Entry Draft.

 

He was
drafted by the Guelph Storm in the fifth round of the 2002 OHL draft and played
for the Storm last season. He started the year playing for Guelph but was
traded to the Majors early in the season. Haskins was the key to the deal for
the Majors in the trade that saw OHL veteran defenseman Kevin Klein head to Guelph.
Ever since then, the Madison, Ohio native has been a very key contributor to
the Majors.

 

The
17-year-old Haskins plays a solid game at both ends of the ice and can do just
about anything asked of him. He is strong on faceoffs, penalty kill and is also
capable of bringing offense to the team, although he excels particularly on
defense.

 

Haskins, ranked 46th overall in International Scouting Services’ March Report, has
had a good year offensively. He is currently fifth on the team in points with
14 goals and 23 assists for 37 points and a team-high plus-17. He recently
played in the 2004 CHL Top Prospects Game. Hockey’s Future spoke with the 6’0”
185-pound Haskins early this week.

 

HF: What are your strengths and
weaknesses as a player?

TH: I think
my strengths are my play at both ends of the ice. I take pride in playing
offensively but mostly in playing defensively and being high in the plus/minus
category. I like to make sure not to give up a chance to get a chance. My
weaknesses I think are my overall body strength. I know that has been a
weakness for me for a while and I should get bigger and stronger.

 

HF: What would you like to work most
on?

TH: I
think, like I said, my weakness is my strength and I’m working out in the
summer and in the season. That’s probably my biggest goal in the season and the
off-season.

 

HF: Who’s your favorite player?

TH: Mike
Peca from the Islanders because he plays at both ends of the ice and he’s a
great leader.

 

HF: Have you tried modeling your
game after him?

TH: I have.
I like how he plays defensively; he does a great job at that. He’s a leader and
plays with an edge and I’ve tried to model my game like that.

 

HF: What do you do in your spare
time?

TH: During
the summer I like to play golf and work out. During the winter I like to watch
movies and play Playstation.

 

HF: What’s your favorite Playstation
game?

TH: NHL
2004 right now. There are a couple other good ones, like Socom Navy Seals.

 

HF: Who have your linemates been
this season in Toronto?

TH: Sal Peralta and Jamie Vanderveeken right now.

 

HF: You’re from Madison, Ohio, why
did you decide to play in the OHL?

TH: I
thought it was the best route for me because compared to the pro game, the game
schedules along the same kind of aspect. It prepares you for the NHL I think a
little better than college does. In college you only play 30 games a year. But
I’m not sure what US college does because I haven’t been there but it’s very
competitive (in the OHL). The travel is a little demanding but that’s what it’s
like in the NHL. The biggest point is that it prepares you for the pro level
and it shows in the draft. I’m not sure what percentage it is, but a big percentage
is from the CHL.

 

HF: What was it like to play in the
2004 CHL Top Prospects Game?

TH: It was
amazing. They treated us so well there and the rink there was just
unbelievable. All the people that were involved in that event treated us like
pros. It was good to see a lot of the guys. Some guys I had never met before
and some guys I had met by playing them. It was overall a great experience.

 

HF: Did you feel any added pressure
playing in a game with all the scouts watching?

TH: A
little bit, but you can’t really focus on that. I was just trying to focus on
my game and playing the way I play. At the end of the day, one game I don’t
think will do too much good or bad. You really can’t think about it that much,
just go out and play.

 

HF: How do you think you played in
that game?

TH: I don’t
think I played too well. I didn’t get very many chances but I kept it simple
and played alright I guess. Not the way I’d like to but I didn’t make any big
mistakes. I guess I’d say I played average.

 

HF: What was it like to be traded at
the beginning of the year from Guelph to Toronto?

TH: It was
a big shock at first; I didn’t see it coming at all. It turned out to be great
because my role in Toronto has been very big. The team here is a pretty close
group of guys and I fit in very well. We’re making a push here for the Eastern
Conference title and I’ve been happy ever since I’ve been here. It’s been a
good move.

 

HF: What do you feel your role is
with the Majors this season?

TH: I think
I have to produce. I just have to go out there and play my game which is a
defensive game. I have to be a bit of a leader but not too much of a leader
when we have Tim Brent and a lot of
other good leaders. I like to kind of look at Tim and take some things off of
him. He’s such a great leader and a great player; I like to model myself after
him. I try to play my game.

 

HF: You’ve just about answered my
next two questions here. What have you been able to
learn playing with Tim Brent?

TH: He
plays very consistent. He rarely takes a game off which is another thing I’d
like to work on. He’s a great guy overall. His leadership skills are very
impressive. Like I said I like to pick things and take them and put them in the
back of my mind.

 

HF: How far do you think your team
can go in the playoffs?

TH: I think
we have a team that can make a push. You never know what can happen in the
playoffs but I think we have a good mix. We have good young players, good older
players and good goaltending. I hope we can go all the way but you never know.

 

HF: Have you thought much about the
draft?

TH: A
little bit. I’m sure a lot of players try to put it in the back of their minds.
You can’t really worry about that because when you worry about that your game
goes by the wayside. You can think about it a little bit but when playing in
front of all the scouts you kind of have to block it out and concentrate on
what you need to do to play well.

 

HF: Will you be attending the draft?

TH: I’m not
sure yet. It depends where I will be finally ranked and I’ll talk it over with
some people.

 

HF: And finally, where do you see
yourself in five years?

TH:
Hopefully playing pro somewhere. It would be a dream for a kid my age to play
in the NHL. Playing hockey and making it as a professional would be idealistic.
It’s been a dream since I started to play and it’s where I hope I’ll be.