Carsen Twarynski is having himself a year for the Kelowna Rockets. He currently sits tied for 11th in goals in the WHL with 26 in only 35 games. Which just so happens to put him on pace for 50 goals this year. The 20-year-old has been scoring every which way this year as evident by his 9 power-play goals and 3 shorthanded goals. However, Carsen hasn’t just been scoring this year for the Rockets this year. He prides himself on being a power-forward and using his NHL ready body (6’2, 198) to his advantage. Carsen’s 46 penalty minutes are second on the team and proves he plays his game with an edge. The Flyers have a recent trend of nailing their prospects taken in the third round (Gostisbehere & Sandstrom), and I’d expect that trend to continue after Carsen was taken in the 3rd round and 82nd overall by the Flyers in 2016. I was able to interview Carsen about his thoughts on the season, while also looking ahead at his future as he looks to earn his first NHL contract.
After being traded away from your Calgary your hometown team, what was the biggest challenge for you coming to Kelowna?
“Being with a different group is a bit of a change, I wasn’t really used to that. But I was lucky coming to Kelowna the culture here and the family was unbelievable and we had a really good team last year and this year. I was very fortunate it made it an easy transition for me.”
You’ve already eclipsed your career high in goals this year. What do you think the biggest factor in your increased production was?
“Definitely motivation to make an impact and sign an NHL contract at the end of the year, hopefully with Philadelphia. Just to do my best and help this team win. I think confidence is a big part of it too. Being twenty I put a lot of weight on my shoulders to help carry the team a little bit. I think I’ve been doing that well but it all comes with playing my game that Ron (Hextall) and Philadelphia likes me to play and the way I grew up playing, and so with that comes rewards and it’s been working for me.”
What was one of the things you focused on improving the most, as you look to make the jump to pro hockey?
“Pace of the game is a big thing, but I think being consistent with how my game is and what I’m supposed to do for my game is a big part of it. I’ve talked to my coaches and that’s a big thing they thought of me improving was to be consistent. Being a power forward is a difficult role to play, especially when you get up into the professional levels. (You have to face) a lot of older guys, more mature guys and that takes a toll on yourself, but I can’t limit my game to just being a power forward. (However) playing the way I do gives me chances for success and to be rewarded. I think I just need to keep doing that, to get where I want to go.”
Since your teammates, Dube and Foote left to play for Canada at the World Juniors. Did you feel you needed to step up in the locker room and become a bigger leader on and off the ice for your team?
“Ya definitely I’ve felt that way the whole year regardless of where Cal and Dill have been. We had Kole Lind out for a while with a sickness and Erik Gardiner has been out for a long time with an injury. It’s been a rollercoaster this year with our team with some of the injuries we’ve had, losing guys to injury and the World Juniors. But I don’t think it needs to be me stepping up just every now and then. I think I’ve been doing that all season, which is what I’ve been trying to do with Kelowna every game.”
Looking ahead, what is something you want to improve the most in your upcoming offseason?
“I think definitely to just continue working on my skating, my skillset and just trying to get as strong as I possibly can. There’s a big difference going against sixteen-year-olds, then playing against twenty-year-olds. I think being a mature player and being strong is the easiest way to kind of break into that league. As long as you can handle the pressure, and handle the physicality (whether I’ve got to) dominate corners or play along with guys in the corners, I think that’s gonna help you settle into a league like that. So I think strength is definitely a big thing.”
What can Flyers fans expect to see in your game as you start to play in the AHL and eventually the Flyers?
“Like I said a physical power forward and a guy that’s gonna bring a lot of excitement to the crowd. I like to hit a lot, I got a big body I use it well, I can skate well which helps make hits and take guys out of the play. I got a great shot when I use it and it’s been going in for me lately. With the confidence in my shot I’ve been using it more and more, it’s starting to help me out more and I’m realizing that. Just an exciting player to watch and to get the crowd into the games.”
So just to summarize. He’s a big power forward who’s on pace for 50 goals this year that loves to be physical, hit and get the crowd into games. I wonder if Flyers fans will like him? Carsen Twarynski needs way more recognition as a top prospect for the organization. Power forwards with that much natural scoring ability do not come around often. Look for him to continue his hot year with the Kelowna Rockets.
Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Chris Szagola