New Brandon Wheat King Taylor Green played 65 games as a rookie last season. (SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS)
A week before he’s set to arrive in the Wheat City, Taylor Green already feels at home with his new teammates.
Shortly after being acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Thursday, Green got a number of texts from Wheat Kings players welcoming him to the organization, and the big defenceman said simple gestures like that are part of the reason he’s looking forward to the move.
"It just reaffirms the classy organization that I’ve heard so much that Brandon is," said the 6-foot-7, 227-pound native of Port Coquitlam, B.C. "I’m super-excited to be joining the team and with stuff like (the texts from Brandon players), it already looks like a it’s going to be a great experience."
Green cost the Wheat Kings a conditional fifth-round pick in next year’s Western Hockey League bantam draft. He wasn’t looking to get out of Seattle, but having been caught in a bottleneck of young defenceman out west, Green wasn’t terribly surprised when he got a call from T-Birds general manager Russ Farwell.
"I knew we had an overload of D-men, especially my age, too. I think we had five of us in Seattle so I knew that something had to happen," said Green, Seattle’s second-round pick in the 2010 bantam draft. "I knew that I had a mixed role with them last year so I was definitely a piece that could be in the works so it wasn’t too big of a shock."
Green played 65 games with Seattle last season, posting two goals, five assists, 53 penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of -24. If he can blossom after getting his feet wet during his rookie season in Seattle, he could turn out to be a good value for the price.
"I’m a big guy, obviously. I think I was listed as the biggest guy in the league this year," said Green. "I like to try and be a big, physical presence out there — protect my teammates, stand up for the boys, throw the body around a little bit, hopefully help out on the (penalty-killing unit). Just be a big, dependable, physical presence on the back end."
Green joins a defence corps that isn’t lacking depth — with up to six players who finished last season on the blue-line eligible to return — but needs to play better in its own end after the Wheat Kings were last in the Eastern Conference in goals-against last season. Green hopes that his game fits in well with some of Brandon’s blue-line offensive threats like Ryan Pulock and Eric Roy.
"I think players like Roy and Pulock don’t need much (to complement) them," Green said. "They’re pretty good overall players, but I hope I can help out on the PK. I know that those guys are going to put up numbers so if I can stop the other team from putting up numbers, hopefully that will offset nicely."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 17, 2013