Role players

February 4, 2014

Most good teams have one or two good role players.

While star players are the ones who make the obvious impact, role players fill a necessary and often-overlooked part in the scheme of success.

Following is a look at five good role-playing forwards from five good teams within the Ontario Hockey League, Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and North American Hockey League.

Dylan Corson, Soo Greyhounds, OHL

After playing a shutdown role with winning Belleville Bulls and Barrie Colts squads, Corson serves a key purpose with his third OHL team in the Soo. The 1994 birth-year forward has never scored much at the OHL level — he has just 5 goals in 48 games this season — but is dogged, determined and dependable.

Jacob Harris, Sudbury Wolves, OHL

Now in his third OHL season with the Wolves, Harris has size and a decent scoring touch, as evidenced by the 16 goals he tallied in 2012-2013. With 8 goals thus far this season, Harris has ably filled a complementary role on a 2013-2014 Sudbury team that is much-better than the 2012-2013 edition.

Nathan Hebert, Soo Thunderbirds, NOJHL

On a skilled, stacked, seasoned team that has won 22 straight games, the rookie Hebert has quietly and effectively done time on the third-and-fourth lines while chipping in with 9 goals in 37 contests. A serious kid who is serious about his role with the Thunderbirds, Hebert still has two seasons of junior left after this one.

Brad Pung, Soo Eagles, NAHL

Tall and lanky with a streaky skating style, it’s hard not to notice the second-year NAHLer, who the Eagles signed as a free agent over the summer. With 5 goals in 41 games this season, Pung is far from a lamplighter. But he works the corners and does the little things that make him popular with his teammates and coaches.

Connor Lyons, Michigan Warriors, NAHL

He can skate and he can shoot and while he doesn’t score much with only 4 goals in 41 games this season, the compactly-built, 1993 birth year speedster plays multiple, quality minutes for the Warriors. Regardless of the situation, Lyons can usually be found on the ice. It says here that if Lyons can be very-effective at what he does in the NAHL, he can be the same at a smaller Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association school, be it Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech or Northern Michigan.

PHOTO: 1993 birth-year forward Connor Lyons of the Michigan Warriors of the North American Hockey League. (NAHL photo.)

What you think about “Role players”

  1. # 19 Connor Lyons is a favorite of the fans at Perani because he hussles non-stop. TJ Stuntz is another one like that.

  2. Right on with this RR! Roll players often go unapreciated and there is no doubt that any Team that competes for a Championship needs this type of player. I think back to when the Soo Eagles were in the NOHL and how they won the League and one of the biggest reasons was they had a great 4th Line of grinders who new their roll.

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