21-Year-Old Defenseman – Tampa Bay Lightning
Slater Koekkoek Contract Information:
Signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Lightning in march of 2013.
Koekkoek was assigned to AHL Syracuse on Thursday.
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Slater Koekkoek: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Slater Koekkoek.
Koekkoek (pronounced coo-coo) must think it's Groundhog Day. The kid's last year in junior ended early with a third consecutive, season-ending shoulder surgery. Yes, that's right - three seasons, three surgeries. The rest of the tools - skating, skill and size - are still there, but at some point, you have to wonder if he's too fragile to play in the NHL. He did look good before this last injury and the Bolts' director of player development Stacy Roest described him "as the best defenseman in the OHL". He's ticketed for Syracuse of the AHL where he will need to spend a couple seasons making up for lost development time. Once again, keeper leaguers should play watch and wait - you don't want to use up a roster spot on him yet.
Koekkoek (pronounced coo-coo) has outstanding fantasy potential … that is, if his injury history isn't a foreshadowing of an ugly future. He missed most of the 2011-12 season after shoulder surgery, but thought he had things "fixed." Nope. Part way through last year, it became clear the first surgery had failed and he underwent a more radical surgery in the spring that involved titanium screws, bone immobilzation and permanent reduction of range of motion. He should be ready for training camp and the docs say the surgery shouldn't limit him on the ice. But his development is behind and he'll spend 2013-14 with Windsor in the OHL. Still, he has it all -- size, skill and smooth, smooth wheels, particularly for a big man. He still has a chance to be a star, but we want to see how that shoulder holds up. Check back in a couple seasons.
The sky’s the limit for this offensive defender. That is, if he’s healthy. Koekkoek (pr. Coo-Coo) missed more than 40 games in his draft year due to a torn labrum in his shoulder. If he’s fully healed, he could actually be one of the best two-way defenders of the 2012 draft and a real steal (he was the 10th overall selection). He’s big, poised with the puck and extremely mobile, and his first pass is one of the best of the draft. His compete level is also high and that bodes well for his NHL future as a possible top-pairing, scoring defender.