Kenton Helgesen THW Close-Up:
If you had never heard of Calgary Hitmen blueliner Kenton Helgesen before the last three months, you can probably be forgiven. A product of Fairview, Alberta, Helgesen grew up outside of the limelight and outside of Alberta’s two largest cities. Fairview, where he learned the game and played most of his hockey, is 100 kilometers north of the out-skirts of Grande Prairie, itself a frontier town.
If nothing else, Helgesen’s last few years have shown that he has a tremendous ability to learn, adapt and excel in short order. Two years ago, he was in midget. Last year, he played in the AJHL. This season he played for the Calgary Hitmen. Most noteworthy was how he managed to learn the WHL game and quickly adapt.
His first month or so in the Dub were, in short, not that great. He was -5 by the end of October, but quickly got his legs underneath him and settled into a very strong rhythm as a shut-down defender. Quiet and reliable, he also managed to play a defensive posture without taking a lot of penalties – taking away his fights, he only took 18 minutes in penalties this season.
Helgesen got a bit more attention at the end of the season. While the defender was un-ranked when NHL Central Scouting put together its midterm rankings, he put together a stellar February and had seven points and a +7 rating. His strong finish to the season found him ranked 64th on Central Scouting’s final rankings.
It’s a bit difficult to project how Kenton Helgesen will turn out. At worst, he’s shown to be an adaptable, quietly confident shut-down blueliner. However, as this season went on he showed flashes of brilliance with the puck and his offensive numbers near the end of the season suggest a bit of upside in that regard. Given his age and that he’s likely to be drafted this year, it’s probable that the team that drafts him will acquire a player that will turn out to be even better than he seems.
Just how much better is an open question.
“An up and coming shutdown defenceman – who also has an offensive upside – Helgessen is a sizable asset at six-foot-three and 185 pounds. While his stick handling and shot still need some finessing, he showcased his decision-making skills, playing key minutes for the Hitmen before they were ousted by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round of playoffs.”
-Kristen Odland, Calgary Herald
Helgesen has no international experience.
Risk = 2/5 Reward = 2.5/5
Reliable, stay-at-home second pairing defender.
*See “THW Close-Up” section above.
- Using his size
- Smart without the puck
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
- Shooting accuracy
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Defenseman – 7/10
NHL Player(s) Comparison:
Somewhat reminiscent of Andrew Ference.
Off The Iron (Interesting Notes):
- Originally drafted in the sixth round, 132nd overall by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft.