“Last year was a feeling out process and now this year I can just step right in,” – Kyle Platzer.
Transitioning from junior hockey, even at a high level, to the American Hockey League takes time. As Condors rookie Kyle Platzer pointed out, “it’s a job now,” and coming to the rink with that mindset takes on a whole new meaning.
Coming off an impressive final season in the OHL with Owen Sound where he led the team in scoring with 81 points (34g-47a) in 68 games, the Ontario native turned pro with Oklahoma City at the end of 2014-15. As he noted above, getting three points (2g-1a) in four games and playing three Calder Cup playoff games helped make the transition to his first full season much easier.
With the pro game, there is more of an emphasis on being a complete player. When things don’t go right offensively, a player needs to adjust to find ways to contribute.
After just two points in his first seven games and only six shots, Platzer found himself in a predicament that he had not faced for much of his career in having to adjust his game. He mentioned early on that the lack of scoring was frustrating, but he used that to fine tune his two-way game, including being a key in the face-off circle and killing penalties.
The opportunities came more and more for the first-year forward with 26 shots over his next 11 games before finding his game just before the calendar flipped to 2016 with six points (3g-3a) in nine games. His most memorable night came during that stretch, outdoors at Raley Field in front of family and friends, scoring the team’s only two goals.
He followed that up with an assist the following day and then returned from the Christmas break with a multi-point effort at home. Injuries forced him out of the lineup later in the season, but it will be generating the form he showed prior to the end of the year consistently that will make him a key pivot in the Condors lineup next season.
At just 21 years old, a bright future is ahead for Platzer. He has to look no further than teammate, and fellow center Jujhar Khaira who turned a 10 point-51 game campaign into a 27 points in 49 games season including two NHL call-ups in his second year. With 17 points in 48 games in his rookie season, Platzer certainly figures to build off that and use it as a foundation in year two.