2009 prospects: Q&A with Calvin de Haan

By Holly Gunning

Calvin de Haan was late coming to the OHL, but now that he’s there he’s making a big splash in his draft year.  Overshadowed by phenom John Tavares most of the year in Oshawa, he’s now the top 2009-eligible player on the roster.

From the blue line, he has five goals and 38 assists and just 28 penalty minutes in 50 games for the Generals. Perhaps most importantly, he leads his team in plus/minus at +6. His 43 points make him the seventh leading scorer among league defensemen, and tied for third among all league rookies. His numbers dropped off some since the Tavares trade, but that can be said for all Generals, and they lost more than just the one player.

Last season de Haan played for the Kemptville 73s of the Canadian Junior Hockey League, finishing tied for fifth in points.A late growth spurt in his 15-year-old year from 5’9 up to 6’0 has made him a late riser on scouting radars.

Twenty-year-old Generals defenseman James DeLory (FLA) said of de Haan, "He’s great offensively, great defensively, can lug the puck really good, has great vision, has a good shot on the power play. Very patient and a very good skater also.  He has a very good head on his shoulders. Our team’s not doing so good right now, but he’s a bright spot."

De Haan has been to the Top Prospects Game, where he won the puck control relay, and was named to the OHL All-Star game, but DeLory didn’t think he was getting more nervous as the draft approaches.

"If he is, he isn’t showing it, because he’s playing very good hockey for us." 

The still 17-year-old de Haan has not had contact with any NHL teams yet. But it’s still early in the process for the Carp, ON native. 

Hockey’s Future spoke with de Haan after a recent road game.

HF: You wanted to hit more this year, do you feel like you’re doing that?

CdH: Yeah, since the Prospects Game or so it’s been kind of my new year’s resolution. Just play a little more physical, not try to put guys in comas, but take the body a little more than I would.

HF: You were shorter a year or two ago — 5’9 — when did that growth spurt start?
CdH: It probably started last summer (2007).  At the start of last year’s training camp I was 5’9, 5’10 maybe if that.  Last year I grew quite a lot gradually and put on a few pounds as well, about 10.  I think that gave me a lot of confidence in my game.

HF: Do you have brothers?
CdH: I have a little brother who’s 13, will be 14 in February.  He plays hockey as well.

HF: I was wondering how tall your family is.

CdH: He’s average for his age.  My dad is 6’0 and my mom is about 5’9 I think, so that’s pretty tall for a woman. Her brothers are pretty big as well, they’re about 6’4.  So hopefully I can get some of that height. 

HF: So you don’t think you’re done growing.
CdH: No, I don’t even shave yet (laughs), so I don’t think I’m done growing yet.  Maybe I’ve got an inch or two left yet, we’ll see.

HF: What are you doing to gain weight and have you gained since the season started?

CdH: No, I have a tough time gaining weight right now.  I’m still growing, I know that for a fact, so it’s hard for me to put on weight.  I eat a lot, as much as I can.  But it’s hard to gain weight during the season because we’re on the ice every day and you burn the calories off.

HF: Have you maintained the same weight this year though?
CdH: Yeah, I’ve been steady around 170 all year.  I’m pretty happy about that, I haven’t lost any.

HF: You do look a little skinny.

CdH: Can’t see my heart beat though (laughs), so that’s a good thing.

HF: Have you surprised yourself how well you’ve done as a rookie?
CdH: Yeah.  At the start of the year it was a big shock, adjusting to the speed and stuff. I began to get a lot more confident and not panic as much with the puck — I didn’t do it that much at the beginning of the year but I feel like I’ve been able to react to the game a lot more, slow things down in my head and just take my time with the puck.

HF: Someone your age is usually not as patient with the puck as you are.
CdH: I don’t know what it is, it’s just me, just my style I guess.  I can’t really explain it.

HF: Do you think you were that patient last year?
CdH: Oh yeah, definitely. If not more because I played junior A last year.  It’s kind of hard to explain how the speed is different.  It’s not like it’s any slower, but you get more time to think for some reason, that’s what I find anyways.  The speed of junior A, yeah there are some teams that are just terrible, but I find you can have more time out there.  It’s not like anyone is slower.

HF: Do you think it’s because people are in better position in major junior?

CdH: Probably. That’s a very good point. Maybe the coaching.

HF: Who have you been partnered with throughout the year?
CdH: I’ve played with Tony DeHart all year.  I think we’ve been the most consistent pair.  We haven’t gotten broken up once this year.  I’m having a lot of fun back there and I think he enjoys it as well.

HF: It seems like you two talk a lot out there.
CdH: Yeah, we get along pretty well off the ice and I think it carried out to the ice as well.  We’re trying to help each other as much as we can.

HF: When have you faced the most adversity in your career? When were you the most down on yourself?
CdH: Probably my minor midget year. My last year of — minor hockey, sorry.  That was the OHL draft and I didn’t get once OHL packet the whole year.  I was getting frustrated because I was leading my team in points and I was playing defense.  It was getting really frustrating but I kept plugging away and Oshawa came along and they’re the only team who gave me a package and then they drafted me in the third round (2007). Things paid off.  I was the highest draft on my team, no one went until the eighth round after that.  It’s quite surprising I think for the whole team.

HF: What kind of injuries have you had in your career?

CdH: I haven’t really had injuries, knock on wood.  Stitches a few times, that’s it.

HF: No concussions?

CdH: A concussion here or there. Nothing like a busted femur. Mine wasn’t that bad, just a minor one.

HF: What would you want to study if you weren’t doing hockey? Or what do you want to do after hockey?

CdH: I haven’t really decided to tell you the truth.  I kind of wanted to explore the NCAA route last year just to get a feel for something I wanted to do, take a couple classes at a university in the States, feel out the workforce and see what I’d like to do when I’m older.  I’m probably going to do that next year.  I haven’t really decided.