Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
 

Houle: Kabanov becoming leader

Jean-Francois Houle, head coach of the Lewiston MAINEiacs, shares his perspective on Isles prospect Kirill Kabanov

Tuesday, 05.17.2011 / 12:09 PM / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
X
Share with your Friends


Houle: Kabanov becoming leader
Ever since being selected by the Islanders in the third round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Kirill Kabanov has been one player that the New York media have flocked towards. That’s largely due to his expressive personality, but also because of a handful of difficult circumstances that the 18-year-old seemed to find himself in while adjusting to life as a professional hockey player.

He’s been unequivocally passionate and loud when speaking with the media, placing his heart in his convictions ever since his very first mini-camp. On one end of the spectrum he was thought of as a rambunctious teenager, but on the other hand, he had all the makings of a vocal leader, not to mention a top six NHL forward.

Islanders prospect Kirill Kabanov, a forward for the Lewiston MAINEiacs of the QMJHL, lays a check against a player on the Saint John Sea Dogs during their Conference Semifinal playoff series on April 27, 2011.
According to Jean-Francois Houle, Kabanov’s coach with the Lewiston MAINEiacs, the Moscow, Russia native made major strides both on the ice and in the locker room this past season.

“Everyone knows that Kirill can be charismatic, but the guys respected him and accepted him for who he is,” Houle said. “He was outspoken in the locker room. He tried to be a little bit of a leader and when he was playing well, he tried to step up. I was really pleased to see that the guys accepted him into the locker room and it showed in his game. That’s probably one of the reasons he played so well, because he felt comfortable.”

Finding his footing wasn’t easy, as Kabanov began the 2010-11 season with the Moncton Wildcats before he was traded to the MAINEiacs after just two regular season games. At first, his ice time was limited and his use on the power play rare, but as the third rounder developed more confidence and chemistry with his teammates, Houle began expanding Kabanov’s role.

“When he came here, he was working hard, but nothing was really happening,” Houle said. “I think because he had a late start and didn’t get many games under his belt at the beginning of the year it kind of hurt him. Towards the end, once he started playing a lot and got to know his teammates, he turned it on and was a different player.”

Kabanov’s regular season stats compared to his teammates fell somewhere in the middle of the pack. But Kabanov really didn’t begin to flourish until after the New Year. The left winger put up eight of his 11 goals and 13 of his 17 assists after January 1.

“He is very good offensively and he’s a playmaker,” Houle said. “He sees the ice well and any time he gets the puck, something happens. He’s very dangerous out there. It’s tough for a team to cover him because he’s kind of sneaky. He’s quick, he gets around you and then he has the good hands to go with that. For an opponent, that’s really tough.”

As Lewiston raced into the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs, Kabanov stayed hot. The MAINEiacs defeated Kabanov’s former team (the Moncton Wildcats) and the Montreal Juniors before pushing on to the playoff semifinals, where they fell to the eventual 2011 President Cup Champions, the Saint John Sea Dogs.

But that eventual defeat wouldn’t taint Kabanov’s breakout season. He shattered career records in every regular season and playoff category. His postseason numbers placed him second on the team in goals (8) and third on the team in assists (12), while he was tied for first on the team in points (20) and +/- rating with a +7.

Houle was just one of many who took notice.

“Towards the end of the year and the playoffs, he was outstanding,” Houle said. “His hands were on par with his quickness and his vision was unbelievable. I thought he was honestly the best player on our team and probably one of the best players in the league during playoffs. He was making plays and getting a lot of ice time. I really think he’s improving a lot.”

From rambunctious teenager to on-ice leader, Kabanov made giant strides this past season.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 PIT 31 21 6 4 99 71 46
2 NYI 32 22 10 0 101 90 44
3 TBL 34 20 10 4 112 90 44
4 MTL 33 20 11 2 88 82 42
5 DET 33 17 8 8 93 82 42
6 TOR 32 19 10 3 110 91 41
7 FLA 30 14 8 8 68 76 36
8 WSH 31 15 10 6 91 85 36
9 BOS 33 16 14 3 82 85 35
10 NYR 29 15 10 4 89 79 34
11 OTT 32 14 12 6 88 88 34
12 NJD 34 12 16 6 77 98 30
13 CBJ 31 13 15 3 76 100 29
14 PHI 31 11 14 6 81 92 28
15 BUF 32 13 17 2 62 100 28
16 CAR 31 9 19 3 66 88 21

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 32 12 15 -6 27
K. Okposo 32 7 20 -4 27
B. Nelson 32 14 12 6 26
R. Strome 32 6 15 12 21
F. Nielsen 32 6 11 0 17
N. Leddy 32 5 10 8 15
J. Boychuk 22 2 12 7 14
M. Grabovski 29 5 7 3 12
N. Kulemin 32 5 7 -3 12
T. Hickey 31 2 9 2 11
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 17 6 0 .918 2.30
C. Johnson 5 4 0 .868 3.59

NewYorkIslanders.com is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and NewYorkIslanders.com are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy |  AdChoices |  Terms of Use |  Contact  Us |  Employment |  Webmaster |  NHL.com Terms of Use