Rob Bordson gets the sense he has been pigeonholed as a defensive forward. Considering he scored just 33 goals in 259 American Hockey League games prior to joining the Chicago Wolves during the offseason – an average of 9.7 goals per full season – he understands how that could happen.
“I’m a responsible forward. I can play on both ends,” Bordson said. “I guess I kind of get pinned as a defensive forward, but I have offensive upside too. I know I can play in the offensive zone.”
The 26-year-old Bordson unveiled those offensive skills last Friday and Saturday when he produced a goal in each of the Wolves’ victories over Lake Erie at Allstate Arena. He earned a spot on 10 p.m. newscasts Saturday when he blazed past a defenseman down the right wing, slipped, recovered immediately and rifled home a goal from a tough angle.
It marked the sixth time in his AHL career that he scored in back-to-back games – and it served as a convenient way to ingratiate himself early in the season to Wolves fans. But it’s important to note he’ll be counted on for more than scoring this year.
“I can play in all situations,” Bordson said. “Faceoffs, penalty kill, 4-on-4. I don’t like to take shifts off. If I’m not playing good, I’m hard on myself. I feel my game is work ethic and doing all the little things right.”
Those are among the reasons the Wolves signed Bordson as a free agent after he spent most of the last four seasons with the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms. Wolves head coach John Anderson also appreciates his speed as well as his ability to play both center and the wing.
“That’s one of the things that we talked about,” said Anderson, referring to end-of-season conversations with general manager Wendell Young and senior advisor/director of hockey operations Gene Ubriaco. “Because of callups and injuries, it’s important to have flexibility. It’s easier to go from center to wing than from wing to center.”
Bordson, meanwhile, liked the Wolves for several reasons – not least of which was the franchise’s winning tradition. In his first four seasons as a pro, Bordson never got to play in the playoffs.
“I wanted a fresh start,” Bordson said. “Just knowing the tradition here and that they treat their players well. They want to win here. I really haven’t been a part of a team like that since I was in college (at University of Minnesota Duluth) that just wants to win. I think this is the most ideal place for me to play, me being a Midwestern kid.”
FUN FACT: Bordson grew up in Duluth, Minn., which serves as a seaport for Lake Superior traffic. He proudly touts Duluth’s recent victory in Outside magazine’s contest for the best outdoors town in America, which is great for Bordson considering the summer is when he returns to his hometown. “There’s so much to do around there when it is nice,” he said.
As for the winters, well…
“People think it’s extremely cold around here,” Bordson said. “But Duluth set a record last year with (23) straight days below zero.”