Q&A with Thrashers Prospect Colin Stuart

By Holly Gunning

Colin Stuart, a junior at Colorado College, had 13 goals and 10 assists for a career high 23 points this regular season. This total included 4 power play goals, team-leading 4 short handed goals, and two game winning goals. He was Atlanta’s 5th round choice, 135th overall in the 2001 Entry Draft. He’s among a solid group of prospects Atlanta has in the college ranks. Stuart took time out as he and his team prepare for the NCAA tournament to answer a few (OK, a lot of) questions for Hockey’s Future.

HF: How would you describe your game to someone who has
never seen you play? Is there anyone in particular
you try to model your game after?

CS: I play an up-tempo, speed game and would describe myself as a
two-way power forward. There is no one in particular that I try to model my
game after, possibly a guy like Darren McCarty of the Detroit Red

HF: What do you feel your strengths are, and what part
of your game do you feel could be improved the most?

CS: I feel my strengths are my skating and my shot, I would like to
improve my overall game and puck control.

HF: What role do you play on your current team?

CS: I am a second/third line player, I play on the power play and have a
very active role in killing penalties.

HF: You used to play more center and now you play more
wing, which feels more natural to you now?

CS: I would say that wing feels more natural to me at this point in my
career, but I feel I am a natural center and could play it at any time.

HF: Prior to the draft, did you know the Thrashers were
interested in you, or was getting drafted by them a complete surprise?

CS: Prior to the draft I knew somewhat that the Thrashers were
Interested in me, I had several interviews with some of their personnel but was
still a little surprised on draft day.

HF: You attended the Thrashers Prospect Camp last
summer, in what way do you think it helped you? Did
it change the way you prepare yourself to play?

CS: I thought that the camp was a great experience for me, I learned a
lot and got to see to a certain extent what its like at the professional
level both as a player and as a person. I wouldn’t say it had any drastic
changes on the way I prepare to play but helped me see some the aspects
my game that need improvement in order to be a successful professional

HF: What was the best part of the camp aside from the
on-ice learning? Will you attend again this summer?

CS: I would say the interaction with the other players, several of the
older players in camp had interesting things to say about their own
careers and how they feel they got there and what one has to do to stay
that level. I will most likely attend camp again this summer.

HF: Has there been any particular person who has been
influential in your development?

CS: No one in particular, but a collection of coaches over the years
have each taught me different things.

HF: Have you had any major injuries in your career, and
if so, what were they and what kind of set-backs did
you face?

CS: No, knock on wood!

HF: Who was your favorite player growing up and did
you ever get to meet him?

CS: Wayne Gretzky, no I have never had the opportunity to meet him,
someday hopefully.

HF: Why do you wear #23?

CS: One of my favorite numbers is 32 and we don’t have that jersey so I
chose 23, 32 backwards.

HF: What kind of stick are you using now and why?

CS: Easton Synergy, I feel comfortable using it.

HF: Your younger brother and teammate Mark Stuart is
predicted to go in the first round of this year’s
draft. You probably know his game better than anyone,
how would you describe it?

CS: Mark is a solid two-way defensemen who is sees the ice extremely
well and has a physical presence that rivals anyone I have ever played with.
One of those guys who you hate to play against but love to have on your
team and in your lockerroom.

HF: How often can you beat him one on one and what move works

CS: I would say about 50% of the time, no move in particular.

HF: Your older brother Mike Stuart was drafted by Nashville and plays in the AHL for the Worcester Ice Cats. What
influence has he had on you as a hockey player?

CS: Mike has had an incredible impact on my hockey career, being an
brother he was a leader and a role model for me growing up. I watched
and still watch him have success at every level due to his incredible
work-ethic and that’s something I have always tried to imitate.

HF: You played against Dany Heatley when he was at
Wisconsin. Did you have any idea at the time that he
would have the success he’s had in the NHL?

CS: Dany Heatley was one of those guys that you just knew was going
somewhere, his physical presence and overall skill level were unrivaled
my mind in college hockey at the time and I had a pretty good idea he
would go on to have success in the NHL.

HF: Colorado College is having another successful
season, how do feel going into the NCAA tournament and
who will be your toughest opponents in the tourney?

CS: I feel very confident headed into the NCAA’s, we have a very good
team with good depth and a winning attitude. Pretty much any opponent
the tourney will be tough and will be a real test for us.

HF: Do you intend to finish up your degree at CC
before turning pro? What are you studying and what
kind of career will you pursue after hockey?

CS: Yes, I am an business economics major at CC and am undecided on a
career after hockey.

HF: Name one thing people would be surprised to know
about you.

CS: I am an avid fly-fisherman.

To view Stuart’s HF profile, click here.