NHL Draft Preview: Declan Chisholm
Nearly three months to the day of their last game of the 2017-18 season, a trio of Petes are preparing for what could be one of the most monumental days of their young lives. Forward Pavel Gogolev, center Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, and defenceman Declan Chisholm are just a few sleepless nights away from arriving in Dallas, Texas in hopes of hearing their names called from the stage at American Airlines Center on June 22-23.
The following is the last in a three-part series that will highlight how each of these potential NHL prospects is feeling heading into the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
One of Peterborough’s most promising young rearguards didn’t have to travel far after hearing his name called on his OHL draft day in 2016. The Bowmanville native, who, despite two significant injuries, quadrupled his points total of his rookie season, hopes his skating skills and ability to read the ice will direct the next move in his hockey career.
Declan Chisholm will travel much further for this draft day as he and his family make their way to The Lone Star State this weekend. Before takeoff, he faced a few questions about how he’s feeling as the 2018 NHL Entry Draft approaches.
This summer is arguably the most important of your life to this point. Have you done anything differently this offseason than in years prior in preparation for the draft?
DC: I definitely started way earlier than prior off-seasons. As soon as we finished [the season], I continued skating, continued working out – just all the things that would normally come in the summer. I’ve been in full training mode leading up to the draft in case I get picked and go to camp. I had combines and interviews to prepare for, so it was definitely a lot busier.
What advice have you been given by teammates or friends that have gone through the draft process?
DC: Just to stay positive, have no expectations, and go in there just hoping for the best. And, if you do get picked, work your hardest to prove why they were right to pick you, and continue working hard to hopefully, eventually sign a contract and make the team.
What is the toughest question you’ve been asked by NHL teams leading into the draft?
DC: I’d say the toughest question was, ‘If you were to replace any player on our roster, who would it be, and why?’ It was pretty tough because obviously they’re already in the NHL, they deserve to be there, and they’re really good players, so to pick a player out of their lineup and tell them why you’d be qualified to replace them, you’d kind of have to pick a player that’s similar to you. And, you have to think of what you’d be doing when you’re in the NHL, so it was a hard question to answer.
Which of your skills or characteristics do you think is your most valuable asset?
DC: I’d say my skating and my hockey IQ would be my most valuable assets. I can really see the ice well out there and find guys wide open, and I can use my skating to be elusive and escape forecheckers. Off the ice, I’d say my charisma – I think I get along with everyone. I think being able to get along with everyone from teammates, anyone involved with the team, and fans, would be an asset.
GOGO GOOOAAAL! In his 100th career game, @Pavel_gogolev17 takes a feed from @chis_decs and finds a hole short side to restore Peterborough’s lead! Add an 🍎 for @Chris_paquette9. 2-1 Petes!#RISE #GoPetesGo pic.twitter.com/sKVsFu0WQW
— Peterborough Petes (@PetesOHLhockey) February 2, 2018
What area of your game do you think you need to work on to elevate your game?
DC: I’d say my strength and my shot. I think they’re huge aspects in the NHL, and if I work on those more, and can make them more of a strength in my game, I think my game would really take off.
You were plagued with a few injuries this season. Is this something that has come up in your conversations with NHL teams, and how have you responded to those questions?
DC: It’s definitely come up with almost every team I’ve talked to. I think they were a couple of unlucky injuries, and how I responded to the questions was, when I came back from my biggest injury, which was the ankle injury, I played the best hockey I played all year. I was full of confidence, I was skating and moving the puck, and I think a lot of teams agreed that I played a lot better when I came back.
You have a little brother, Cade, who clearly adores you and looks up to you. Does he understand the magnitude of what this weekend could mean for his big brother?
DC: (Laughs) I don’t think he quite understands it. I think he just knows we’re going on a vacation to Dallas. But when we get there, he’ll definitely be in awe, and I think him looking up to me is cool because he’ll definitely want to do somethings with sports – he loves them.
Who are you attending the draft with?
DC: There’s a group of about 20 people. All my aunts and uncles, family friends.
Do you plan on getting out in Dallas to see some of the city?
DC: My schedule is pretty full when I get down there, but I know we’ll try to have a family dinner. Other than that, it’ll be mostly business.