Q&A with 2006 prospect Ben Shutron

By Jason Ahrens

Ben Shutron is a smooth skating 6’1,185-pound defenseman with the Kingson Frontenacs. He was selected by the club with their first round pick, ninth overall in the 2004 OHL draft after putting up 59 points in 74 games with the Richmond Hill Minor Midget AAA team.

Shutron stepped right in with Kingston and saw a lot of ice time, scoring seven goals and adding 20 assists in 63 games, but was also a -26. That statistic shows the bit of a riverboat gambler side to his game, but as he matures in the league he will learn to make better decisions and as a 16-year-old rookie, he was playing against guys two to four years older than him. Shutron enters his draft year as a potential first round pick who could develop into a real quarterback from the point over time.

Hockey’s Future spoke with Shutron shortly after he was named to Team Canada, joining teammate Cory Emmerton on the squad that will be off to the Czech Republic to compete in the Under 18 tournament.

HF: How does it feel wearing the Canadian sweater?

BS: It is a great honor and an incredible feeling. There were a lot of great players invited to camp, it is just a great opportunity and I’m very glad to be part of the team.

HF: What did you do in camp that got you here?

BS: Camp went well, it was just a lot of hard work over the summer, I was training at home, at a Karate and Fitness Center and it was just a lot of hard work and it really paid off.

HF: What sort of things were you working on?

BS: Just getting bigger and stronger. Foot speed obviously, I want to be faster, just improve my overall game and trying to get smarter for the years to come.

HF: Can you tell me a bit about your rookie season with Kingston?

BS: It was a great season for me and Emmerton and the other young guys. It was unfortunate that our team didn’t go a little further during the year, but it was a good opportunity and I got a lot of ice and I thank Coach Hulton for that and I thought it went very well.

HF: Statistics can be misleading some time, but one that jumps out about you was your plus/minus, I take it you were a bit concerned about that?

BS: Well, that happens in being a rookie defenseman with all the ice time I got. You know I was not overwhelmed, but a little more challenged than what I was used to, it’s all about adjusting to the league and it was my first season, so I’m not too worried about it but I’m definitely looking at improving it in the future.

HF: How would you describe your style of play for any readers not familiar with you?

BS: I’m a good two-way defenseman with strong skating skills, puck moving skills, I really like to jump into the play and provide offense when needed and a good sound defensive game.

HF: Do you see yourself getting more special teams time this season?

BS: Actually I played a lot on the power play last year. I was on the first unit there, which was a blessing, for the coaches to give me that opportunity. But I definitely will be playing a lot of power play for the rest of my OHL career and I’m looking forward to it.

HF: Has there been any indication you might get some power play time here with Team Canada?

BS: Yeah, I think they recognize my skills along with other players. Whatever happens, happens, and it is up to the coach and I’m sure that they are going to pick the best players in order for the team to succeed.

HF: Coming into your draft year what sort of things are you focusing on the most in order to make the best impression?

BS: Well being a smaller defenseman I have to show that I can compete with the bigger players out there, I can’t shy away from any of the bigger, physical guys. I have to use my skating to my advantage in order to defend and I just have to show a physical aspect to the game and just show them my skills and I think the NHL is going to like that.

HF: The NHL has introduced a number of new rules that the OHL will be adapting as well, in an effort to create more offense — which might make your job tougher?

BS: Oh yeah, it is going to be tougher, but like I said I’m a good skater, and with the no red line, I really liked it in the camp as I could use my passing to my advantage to hit the open player a lot of times. You know it is all part of the game and every player has to adjust in order to be successful at that level.

Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.