Slater Koekkoek will be an important part of the Tampa Bay Lightning at some point. Will it be this season? From the looks of it there are two open spots on the blue line. The top three candidates are Koekkoek, Nikita Nesterov and James Wisniewski. Whether it’s to start the season or at some point later on, the 22-year-old will be on the team. Last Friday the Lightning gave fans a chance to get to know him a little bitter as he hosted an #AskSlater session on their official Twitter feed. So what did he reveal?
There are two "Slaters" in the pop culture world. Christian Slater and AC Slater from "Saved By the Bell". Sadly, neither one of them inspired his name. His mom took a slightly easier route.
Loved Saved by the Bell!! haha but my name actually came from a gravel pit my mom drove by everyday. "Slater Excavating" lol #askslater https://t.co/ioe3bu217v— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 23, 2016
Just imagine, if she took another route he could have been named "Roni".
When you’re a rookie you usually don’t get to choose the number you wear, at least in the first year. So if a number means something to you, you have to come up with a number that is a derivative of what you’re looking for.
I love number 18. Its our family number. But a little guy named Palat wears it (hahah) so i went with 29. 2x9= 18 #AskSlater #mathwhiz https://t.co/nlDBseSTjk— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 23, 2016
He gets credit for not going the traditional route of just flipping the numbers. Although with Jonathan Marchessault in Florida maybe he’ll switch to "81".
What would he do if he wasn’t playing hockey:
It doesn’t sound like he has ever focused on anything other than hockey.
I think a defense lawyer is something that would interest me. But maybe i just like them in movies…. lol #AskSlater https://t.co/KH6r6UcidW— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 23, 2016
Well at least he knows someone if he needs career advice.
Hockey Role Model:
This answer will make fans feel old.
Bryan McCabe from the Toronto Maple Leafs https://t.co/trkWct0GVQ— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 23, 2016
Didn’t McCabe retire a year or so ago? 2011? Still, that’s not that long ago. He also mentions that the one player he would like to play against would be Bobby Orr.
Now it’s time to feel really old. If you’re over 25-years-old you will have no idea who this is.
Closer by the Chainsmokers #AskSlater https://t.co/1at8E5OG4Q— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 23, 2016
Here is a link to the song. Per Wikipedia The Chainsmokers are two DJ’s who got their start in the EDM scene. Alright, then.
Favorite TV Show:
It has to be "Breaking Bad" or "Archer", right?
Favourite show of all time is definitely Lost. Seen the whole series 4 times… Still cry every time #AskSlater https://t.co/4D9o1l6m5A— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 23, 2016
Lost. Well that was a bit of an upset. He also mentions "Narcos", "Game of Thrones", "Friday Night Lights" and "Prison Break" as shows he watches or binges on.
There were several food related questions. He is a big fan of cereal. Well of most cereal.
Never had a Cocoa Puff in my life. Would love to try them!! Big cereal guy. #AskSlater https://t.co/L44s2FQVF3— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 23, 2016
Who hasn’t had Coco Puffs? What kind of health nut family did he grow up in? Never having a Coco Puffs is like never having breathed. His last name is part of their slogan. I feel this is a bit of a missed marketing opportunity. He also likes Quarter Pounders and Maple Walnut Butterscotch Ripple ice cream - which may not even be a real thing.
There were a few team themed questions and Tampa winters are much milder than Syracuse winters, but one answer he gave showed that he is not taking his place on the roster for granted.
Personally i want to make the team! That is step 1. As for our team our goal is to make playoffs! Once you are in anything can happen! https://t.co/HwQxKf6RH0— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 23, 2016
It’s good to see he isn’t assuming he’s already made the team. While it would be a bit of a surprise if he did start the season in Syracuse, it could happen. The Lightning are looking for a big right-handed shot to spark the power play and Wisniewski provides that. Nesterov’s new contract ($795,000) isn’t exactly an AHL-friendly deal. Koekkoek’s skating ability and offensive awareness could also be assets for the team, but he has to show the coaching staff that he can be responsible in his own zone as well.
Koekkoek is involved in one of the few battles for spots on this season’s squad. The next two weeks will be his chance to prove that he belongs in the NHL. Hopefully he doesn’t let too many Naperoonski’s get in the way.