Sol evolving into solid player

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:37 PM ET

WINNIPEG - Cody Sol is no gentle giant, at least not on the ice.

When you stand 6-foot-6 and weigh 240 pounds at the age of 20, youre sure to attract plenty of attention.

And for the most part of this 2011 NHL Young Stars tournament, Sol has been steady on the blue-line for the Winnipeg Jets.

Sols game has been evolving since the Atlanta Thrashers selected him in the fifth round (125th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

When I first got drafted I was big, but I was a little on the lighter side so I gained a few pounds, said Sol, who had four goals, 17 points and 114 penalty minutes in 60 games with the Kitchener Rangers last season.

I had to get stronger and a lot quicker too. Ive been working on my foot speed and my stickhandling. In these games, it feels like Im not getting beat wide and Im in position most of the time.

Sol, a 20-year-old from Woodstock, Ont., isnt afraid to drop the gloves and happy to take the body, but hes far from a one-dimensional player.

Ive always been one of the biggest guys on the team, said Sol, whose growth in height has been gradual since breaking into the Ontario Hockey League at 6-foot-3. You see guys trying to take my head off but I expect it and know its going to happen, so I keep my head up.

Fighting is something I do to help the team out. Ill do it every now and then, Im not going to shy away from it but Im not going to classify myself as a straight-up fighter.

Sol is playing in his third prospects tournament the first two being the one held in Traverse City, Mich. in which the Thrashers took part and his comfort level has increased each time.

Although Sol has one more season of junior hockey available to him, he also has the option to play for the St. Johns IceCaps in the American Hockey League.

Ill play it by ear and play where they want me to play, Sol said. Hopefully I can play in St. Johns. I think Im ready. It would be a good step for me.

Keith McCambridge is the head coach of the IceCaps and ran the bench for the Young Stars tournament and now has an indication of what to expect from Sol.

Ive liked his mobility. McCambridge said. I wasnt sure what I was going to see from that aspect of his game. Hes got a real good wingspan and covers a lot of ice.

For a big man, he moves well. Hes physical, he contains well in his own zone. His first pass has to get better, it has to be a hard, crisp pass. He needs to add a little more sandpaper to his game. You see it in spurts, at times, but that needs to be a little more consistent. Hes made a very good impression.


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