Jets' Bogosian soaks it all in
Ken Wiebe, QMI AGENCY
|Winnipeg Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian improved his numbers across the board and played with much more poise and confidence in 2011-12. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI AGENCY)
It turns out a fresh start was the perfect elixir for Zach Bogosian.
Fortunately for the Winnipeg Jets, that transition took place in a new city instead of a new organization.
After a disappointing final season with the Atlanta Thrashers, filled with adversity and plenty of trade rumours, Bogosian bounced back in a big way in 2011-12.
“For the most part, it was a positive year,” said Bogosian, who had five goals and a career-high 30 points in 65 games this season. “I just tried to do my part, in any way possible, to help the team. I got a lot of chances on special teams, on the penalty kill and the power play. Obviously, we’d like to be in the playoffs. But I really enjoyed my year here.”
Not only did he improve his offensive numbers, Bogosian cleaned up his work in the defensive zone while averaging just over 23 minutes per game.
“Going into the year, I don’t know if I had a set goal for points that I wanted or anything like that, I just tried to get on the score sheet as much as possible but take care of defence,” said Bogosian. “My offence has always been there. In the D-zone I did a lot better job than in previous years.”
Although plus-minus can occasionally be a deceiving statistic, Bogosian is proud to finish at minus-3 after being a team-worst minus-27 last season.
“I didn’t want to get caught cheating on pinches or things that put your team in jeopardy for a 2-on-1 or a breakaway,” said Bogosian. “I wouldn’t say I started out slow, but working with the coaches, I soaked it in. Having that confidence and knowing you’re helping out the team is always a good thing.
“It’s encouraging to be moving in the right direction. There’s a lot of room to go. I’m still 21 and I feel I have a lot of years in front of me and hopefully those years are in Winnipeg here.”
Bogosian said playing in a crazed hockey market helped him as well.
“My first couple of years, I had a tough time, whether it was on the ice or off the ice, it was a tough road,” said Bogosian, the third overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. “Playing in a place like Winnipeg, where people really care, brings out the passion in me.”
Bogosian’s progression hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“He’s using his talents better,” said Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey. “He’s a great skater. He started (in the NHL) when he was 18 and that’s a long time ago. I didn’t play the kind of minutes he played until I was 24, 25 and he was 20, 21. He has the potential to be a very special player for this organization.”
Something else was different about Bogosian.
“He just kind of played this year,” said Jets captain Andrew Ladd. “Last year, he was thinking too much. The coaches just let him play and he had fun again, which was good to see.”