Newcomer Paradis brings stability, savvy to Rebels’ back end
Red Deer Rebels newcomer Colin Paradis remembers well one particular comment made by Brent Sutter after the team’s GM/head coach acquired the 19-year-old defenceman from the Moose Jaw Warriors.
“I talked to him right after the trade and one of the things he said that stuck out to me was he needs his older players to play like older players,” Paradis, who was obtained last week in a deal that sent rearguard Brandon Schuldhaus to Moose Jaw, said Thursday.
“So I think having that experience under my belt, that’s what he needs me to do.”
So far, so good. Through his first three games with the team, the Sherwood Park product has been exactly as advertised — a steady presence on the back end with the ability to transport the puck up ice.
“I’m definitely a puck-moving, defensive-zone first player,” he said. “I just try to be a solid presence back there for the young guys. If things are getting a little hectic, I’ll try and calm them down, show them the way a bit.”
As the Rebels oldest blueliner, Paradis has indeed taken it upon himself to be a mentor to his defensive teammates.
“When things are not going your way, don’t panic, just bear down,” he said of one bit of advice he will pass on to the younger defencemen. “The biggest thing is the simple play is the best play. Try not to over-complicate things.”
Rebels associate coach Jeff Truitt has been impressed with Paradis’ leadership and communication skills.
“Even in his first game with us he was talking on the bench, just calming things down when needed,” said Truitt. “He was speaking with his defensive partner about some of the details of the game. He jumped right in, which was great.”
Paradis’ tangibles haven’t been too shabby either, Truitt noted.
“He’s a mobile D-man who can move the puck and he makes good decisions in the defensive zone, where he’s usually on the right side of his check,” said Truitt.
“He defends very well and is poised with the puck. He’s fit in really well, I think he’s helped Alex (defensive partner Alexeyev) on that pairing. He’s complemented the team very well.”
Where Paradis is unlikely to stand out, Truitt admitted, is on the offensive stat sheet.
“He’s not going to wow you with a lot of points. We know that,” said Truitt, who handles the Rebels defencemen. “But being reliable defensively, being poised with the pick and making good decisions . . . thats’ going to be huge or him and for us. When he’s got the puck he usually gets it up ice and now we’re going on the offensive. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Paradis has scored just one WHL goal over four years (he played only 10 games as a 16-year-old), the marker coming in one of the 37 games in which he appeared with Moose Jaw this season.
He also has five assists this winter, including two in his brief time with Red Deer. Clearly, he’s shouldering a bigger work load than he had with the Warriors.
“Already in these past three games my role has increased from what it was,” said the six-foot, 181-pound defender. “I’m really excited about that and I want to continue taking on that role and earning it every day.”
Paradis never saw the trade coming, particularly due to the fact he’d played his entire WHL career with one team.
“I was definitely surprised. With any trade there’s some shock in the beginning,” he said. “I found about before a game, so, yeah, I was pretty surprised. But after that I was pretty excited. It’s exciting to be back in Alberta, close to home.”
While the Rebels have struggled this season with a youthful lineup, Paradis sees plenty of potential on the roster.
“The young players have a lot of talent and they’re energetic,” he noted. “It’s just details you have to try and focus on now, because that makes a big difference in this league.
“(The key is) just making sure they use their skill and energy in the right way and focus on the details.”
The Rebels garnered a single point on their recent three-game road trip into Saskatchewan and another point in Tuesday’s 5-4 shootout loss to the host Lethbridge Hurricanes, and Paradis is of the opinion they were often their own worst enemies.
“In the Swift (Current) game (a 5-1 loss) we talked about staying out of the (penalty) box and that really killed us,” he said of the game in which Red Deer surrendered three first-period power play goals and four man-advantage tallies overall. “You can talk about it as much as you want but you have to go out there and do it.”
In the Tuesday outing . . .
“The first period killed us,” said Paradis. “We had a good second and third, so that was good that we rebounded, but it’s a 60 minute game. You have to play a full 60.”
Paradis turns 20 in April and will be in the running to fill one of the Rebels’ three overage spots next season.
“There’s going to be some 20 spots open and it’s going to be a battle. For me, this is kind of like a tryout for next year,” he said.
Rebels vs. Lethbridge Hurricanes, Friday, 7 p.m., Centrium
The Hurricanes are coming off a 5-4 shootout win over the Rebels Tuesday in Lethbridge and are 4-5-1-0 in their last 10 games. Lethbridge sits seventh in the Eastern Conference and second in the Central Division with an 18-19-3-0 record . . . With the recent exodus of Georgio Estephan (traded to Swift Current) C Jordy Bellerive has assumed the status of the ‘Canes’ top scorer with 24 goals and 54 points. D Calen Addison is next in line with 45 points (7g,38a), followed by newcomer C Brad Morrison (13-24-37) and C Dylan Cozens (12-15-27). C Zane Franklin (11-11-22) and LW Taylor Ross (10-11-21) have also cracked the 20-point barrier . . . Logan Flodell, recently acquired from Swift Current, is 10th among WHL starting goalies with a 3.09 goals-against average and ninth in save percentage at .912 . . . Bellerive signed a free-agent contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins in September. Morrison (NY Rangers, fourth round) and D Tate Olson (Vancouver, seventh round) were selected in the 2015 NHL entry draft.
Injuries: Lethbridge — C Jadon Joseph (lower body, week-to-week), C Zane Franklin (upper body, day-to-day), C Ryan Vandervlis (upper body, out for season). Red Deer — LW Brandon Hagel (upper body, day-to-day).
Special teams: Lethbridge — Power play 30. 4 per cent, second overall; penalty kill 74.5 per cent, 19th. Red Deer — Power play 17.4 per cent, 19th overall; penalty kill 74.7 per cent, 18th.