Yesterday afternoon the Barrie Colts of the OHL announced the signing of Kevin Labanc, a Staten Island, N.Y. native who spent the last two seasons suiting up with the US National Team Development Program. Originally drafted by the Colts in the 6th round of the 2011 OHL Priority Selection, the late birthday 95 YOB will not be eligible until the 2014 NHL Draft.
Labanc is a hardworking winger, who competes along the boards and in the corners and doesn’t shy from the important puck battles. He has decent size, standing at 5-foot-11, 185-pounds, and he uses all the strength that he has to battle against the opposition.
In 62 games with the U18 team this past season, Labanc notched nine goals and 21 points, along with 28 penalty-minutes. Labanc was part of the US squad that received a silver medal at the 2013 IIHF U-18 Tournament hosted by Sochi, Russia where he managed a lone goal during the tournament.
Labanc’s offensive game is still a work in progress, however he has shown a strong work ethic and a competitive edge to his game. He spent most of the 2012-13 season, and the entire U-18 tournament playing third- and fourth-line minutes. Labanc also saw minutes on the penalty-kill, where he showed an efficiency in the defensive-end. Labanc shows a willingness to play a hard-nosed, aggressive brand of hockey, which will make him a good depth addition to a solid Barrie line-up.
The Colts enter the 2013-14 season after losing the 2013 OHL Championship in seven-games to the London Knights. With the departure of several of the team's top players, Labanc should see an immediate opportunity to play a role in the Top 9 as he works towards the 2014 NHL Draft where he is currently projected as a mid-round talent.
In their statement regarding the Labanc signing, Colts GM Jason Ford weighed in with some positive comments.
"The Barrie Colts are excited that Labanc has decided to choose the Barrie Colts and OHL to further develop his hockey career," Ford said. "He attended our rookie camp two years ago and at that time we felt he was ready to make our team as a young prospect. He has developed his game in excellent fashion the past two seasons with the U.S. Program. Kevin is a smart, competitive and skilled hockey player who is determined to come to the OHL to better his game and improve his overall skills.”
Prior to signing with Barrie, Labanc was a Notre Dame recruit. According to reports, Notre Dame recently pulled its offer made to Labanc due to academic issues.
Nick joined the TSR team in 2013 and provides prospect coverage of the USHL and NAHL. He's diligently working towards a career in the front office of either a professional hockey team or a junior one - whoever calls first. Feel free to drop him an e-mail at [email protected] or a follow on twitter @nick_perri.
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