From Ivy League to American League: Lightning prospect Alex Killorn
Alex Killorn, the soon to be Harvard grad, has played seven games with the Norfolk Admirals in his first taste of professional hockey. He played his first game with Norfolk on 23 March, which was also the Admirals' record-breaking 19th win in a row. He is currently playing on a Norfolk tryout contract, and his newly signed contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning won't kick in until this fall.
According to his Harvard University men's ice hockey profile, he's listed at 6'2", 207 lbs. But, perhaps more importantly, he's also listed as a center. Though, during his last game with the Admirals, he wasn't taking many faceoffs.
"Since I've been up, I've played the wing mostly. But Coach does like to get me out playing center every now and again. So whenever I go out to play center, I take draws, but most of the time I'm just playing on the wing," Killorn said.
When asked if he was a natural center, he said, "I've played both in my lifetime. The past two years I've played center, but before that I played wing. Either way. I'm happy wherever [the coach] puts me."
The Lightning drafted him in 2007 in the 3rd round, 77th overall. But even before that, he had been drafted to a major junior team. The Shawinigan Cataractes chose him 42nd overall in the 2005 Quebec Major Junior Draft, but he ended up choosing Harvard over the QMJHL.
And he excelled with the Crimson. He was a Hobey Baker Award fan-voting nominee both his junior and senior years in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC). And he was Harvard's first 100-point scorer (109) since 2005, and first 50-goal scorer (53) since 2004, all over the course of his 130-game college career.
In his brief stint with the Admirals thus far, he's scored one goal, and has three assists. He helped set up goals for Tyler Johnson and Cory Conacher at the end of the Admirals' final home game last Saturday against the Binghamton Senators. He's also averaging almost three shots a game, and has only 2 PIM.
"Obviously, guys have more skill and the puck just moves a lot quicker. I feel like college, guys are running around a lot, and in the AHL, there's a lot more control, there's a lot more systems. So it's not as much running around, but a lot of controlled play," Killorn said.
"The first few games it was definitely a lot of adrenaline. It was a different atmosphere for me, a different environment just playing pro hockey. But going through this homestand, I've felt a lot more comfortable, I've played with some guys, and just getting a few games under your belt just really calms you down and allows you to make plays out there. It's been beneficial for me."
And, as with everything in regards to the Admirals these days, the streak keeps coming up in the discussion of the team. Killorn's first game was the record-breaking 19 game of the streak. And joining the team in the middle of such an unprecedented situation presented its own challenges for Norfolk's newest college recruit.
"When I got here, I didn't want to be the guy that came in and the team started to lose. So I'm pretty happy with the way that it's been going so far. But, you know what? You can't worry about that. If you worry about that, you start to make mistakes. You stick to your game and you do what's gotten you here. I think, usually, things tend to work out."
Things are definitely working out so far for Alex Killorn. Lightning fans ought to be on the lookout for this guy next season. He could very well break into the lineup, if his time in Norfolk so far is anything to go by. During the one game of his that I got to watch, I noticed that he has some great moves on a couple of chances - serious goal-scorer moves; similar to those of Steven Stamkos.
The more comfortable he becomes, the more often we'll see those flashes of brilliance and the better he will be. I think he has the potential to turn into a very good power forward in the AHL. And perhaps in the NHL as well.
Expect a lot of exciting hockey out of this player for years to come.