Defensemen in professional hockey are divided into several categories. Some are known for their under-the-radar sneakiness and steady play. Others are more willing to take risks with the puck on their stick, even if it gives the other team a chance to score. Then there are some such as Wolves defenseman Jake Walman, who’s trying to elevate his game in all categories.
As part of his improvement process, the Toronto native joined Gary Roberts and the BioSteel training camp last summer. Walman focused with more on the ice training to drive his compete level and continually build his skill set against some of the world’s top hockey players —
Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars), Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia Flyers) and Adam Henrique (Anaheim Ducks), just to name a few.
Walman also continued to crush it in the weight room. He has gained 30 pounds since being drafted in 2014.
With his swift skating ability, big shot, and ability to eat plenty of minutes on the ice, Walman is a very enticing prospect with the Wolves. Wolves sideline reporter Mark Citron caught up with “Wally” on his thoughts about the season so far.
Q: Describe your game to the fans. You obviously focus on skating and shooting the puck whenever you get the opportunity.
A: Yeah, that is my game. I like to use my feet and I like to use my shot as a weapon.
Q: What has changed about the team’s play of late?
A: We are scoring goals now. Obviously, all our players previously have been goal-scorers, and it is nice to see it go in the net. You have to score to win. We were not doing that early on, but the past 10 games we have found our way back and it’s been nice.
Q: What is the secret ingredient missing on the power play? If that can get rolling, this team could really make some noise when that starts clicking.
A: We have had a lot of opportunities on the power play, but we are trying to find the right combinations because guys are getting hurt and called up. We have scored a couple and we are getting good looks and regularly working on it in practice. The goals will come.
Q: Do you have a pregame routine?
A: Not overly into that pregame superstitious stuff, but as long as I am not hungry that is all that matters. I hate being hungry.
A: Whatever I am into that day. Nothing specific. Again, as long as I am not hungry, that is all that matters. Being loaded on a full stomach is all I care about.
Q: What is the best steakhouse you have ever been to?
A: When I am in Providence, a couple of us go to Capital Grille. I have had some good experiences there.
Q: Worst chirper or trash-talker on the team?
A: “Tomer” (Paul Thompson). “Tyns” (T.J. Tynan). All the captains try to get under guys’ skin all the time, but you kind of just laugh it off.
A: Probably those guys: Tomer and Tyns. They will have a good chirp here or there sometimes. I like Mackenzie (MacEachern). He is funny. I hang out with Dimitri Osipov a lot and he cracks me up.
Q: Craziest thing you have ever seen at a hockey game?
A: Probably when we won the National Championship in Providence. The BU goaltender — sorry to point out Matt O’Connor, I train with him in the summer — but it was surreal. He dropped the puck and it went in to win the championship. I wasn’t on the ice for it, but I just leaped over the bench and couldn’t believe it.