TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Brandon Wheat Kings’ rookie Daniel Asham is working on developing his all-around game.
From first-line scoring star in midget to depth player in the Western Hockey League is not an easy transition to make.
Daniel Asham has found that out this season, but the Brandon Wheat Kings rookie is optimistic that bigger and better things are on the way in his Western Hockey League career.
"I get more confident every day," said Asham, whose Wheat Kings host the Red Deer Rebels tonight in the first meeting between the teams this season. "Sometimes, when you’re playing fourth line, you don’t really feel good about yourself or something like that when you’re not getting too many shifts, but then you just start playing good and you get moved up. You get rewarded for what you do."
Asham’s numbers so far won’t put him on anyone’s short list for the WHL rookie of the year award, but the 17-year-old forward from Headingly has acquitted himself well. Asham has played in 26 of the Wheat Kings’ 29 games, producing a goal and four assists — drawing assists in his last two games — with a solid plus-minus of +3.
"I think he’s had his ups and downs like every young player has," Wheat Kings head coach Cory Clouston said. "The last couple of games, he’s played very well for us. He’s a guy who is a big, strong player, he’s got good speed, good size, he can play physical. I think he’s really starting to understand the game and understand what we need him to do. If and when we’ve had injuries, he’s been able to move up in different situations and given us good minutes."
A natural centre, Asham has played in the middle and on the wing so far as a rookie. While he has seen predominantly fourth line duty, Clouston has not hesitated to promote the former Winnipeg Midget AAA Wild standout based on the situation.
Asham said he’s working on the things he needs to do in order to get more responsibility from his coach.
"You’ve gotta bust your butt," Asham said. "You’ve just got to keep moving, (focusing on) backchecks, back pressure, all the stuff that he likes — (offensive) zone rotations. It’s not about scoring; it’s not about anything like that with him. It’s just working as hard as you can."
ONE-TIMERS: Rookie RW Dakota Conroy, who has missed four games with a foot injury, practised fully Thursday, leaving C Tyrel Seaman (upper body, one week) as the only Wheat King not skating … The Rebels, who enter tonight’s game on a seven-game losing streak (0-5-0-2), arrived in Brandon early and practised at the same time as the Wheat Kings on another Keystone Centre rink on Thursday.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 2, 2011