The Vancouver Canucks website has an article-interview
with former Vernon Vipers forward Mike Zalewski.
Zalewski attended the Canucks Prospects development camp in early July and was also at the Canucks Training camp got into some exhibition games with the Canucks before being sent down to the American Hockey League.
Zalewski left his third year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) last season signing with the Canucks on March 17th 2014. Zalewski skated in his first NHL practice with the Canucks on March 21, 2014 before making his NHL debut on Saturday April 12 2014 in a 5-2 loss in Edmonton. Zalewski picked up his first career NHL point (assist) in a 5-1 win over the visiting Calgary Flames the following night. Zalewski played two season's in Vernon (2010-2012) In 106 regular season games with the Vipers Zalewski collected (50-goals-54-assists-104-points).
Mike Zalewski's Player Profile:
This is posted on the Canucks website:
By Tyson Giuriato
He wasn’t a big draft pick and there wasn’t a flashy press conference when he signed, but Mike Zalewski has done something that a lot of players at the 2014 Young Stars Classic have yet to do: play in the NHL.
After signing with Vancouver in March, Zalewski joined the Canucks for the remainder of the season where he was able to train and adapt to the pro life style. After nearly a month of practicing and training, the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder got to fulfill a lifelong dream as he was slotted into the lineup for the Canucks’ final two games of the season.
“Everybody’s dream is to play in the NHL,” said Zalewski, who earned one assist and
Zalewski knows just how beneficial that time in Vancouver was for his development. Not only did it make him hungrier to get to that level on a full-time basis, but hanging around the pro game after spending two seasons in the NCAA not only helped him then, but it will also prove to be an added bonus for winger come time for his first NHL camp starting later this week.
“To be able to skate and train in Vancouver for a month last season was huge,” he said. “Getting to know the guys and more importantly seeing how they prepare day in and day out make a huge difference for me coming into this season rather than just having to jump into my first camp not knowing anything.”
Zalewski knows that cracking the Canucks roster out of camp may be tough, but it’s not out of the question if he can showcase his game during the pre-season. He’s a blue-collar player that has a motor that doesn’t seem to shut off.
“I just need to show everyone the game that I can play and what I bring to the table,” said Zalewski, who is back in the Okanagan for the first time since his playing days with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. “Every time I go on the ice I have to bring what I got and do all the little things right. If I can prove to them what I do right and what I bring to the table I think I will give myself a chance.”
There’s a chance the New Hartford, New York product will be down in Utica developing his game with the Canucks AHL affiliate next season. Comets coach Travis Green, who is also behind the bench for the Canucks at the 2014 Young Stars Classic, is getting his first look at Zalewski in Penticton and likes what he sees.
“He is a good, honest, hardworking player that plays the game well,” said Green. “He is strong on the puck and will probably be able to play in a couple different roles next season. I have liked his game so far, there isn’t a lot I don’t like. I would like to watch him play a little longer to give a definitive answer, but I have liked what I have seen so far.”
Playing for the Comets would also be a bit of a homecoming for Zalewski as his hometown of New Hartford is located just outside of Utica, but if it were up to him, he wouldn’t be going home until the off-season.
“That will be exciting as well,” he said. “Obviously I want to play here in Vancouver and I would rather be here, but the next best option would be playing in the AHL in my hometown.
“If I end up there I would be a great experience, but my goal is to play here in Vancouver.”
Meet Canucks Prospect Mike Zalewski
After recently signing his first NHL contract, forward Mike Zalewski chats with Joey Kenward about his days in the BCHL and NCAA as he prepares to take the next step in his hockey career with the Vancouver Canucks.