It was just this past June when Joel Edmundson heard his name called by the St. Louis Blues in the second round of the NHL entry draft, and since then, Joel has been talked about in the Blues top five defensive prospects, alongside the likes of Ian Cole, Brett Ponich, Mark Cundari, and Cade Fairchild.
The big bruising defensemen took the time to sit down and answer some questions for our readers here at TMMOTS.
TMMOTS – What was it like growing up in Brandon for you. Was it all hockey from the start or was there a certain moment that got you into it?
Joel Edmundson – Growing up in Brandon every kid always played multiple sports and hockey was always everyone’s number one choice. It is such a great town to grow up in with the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings in town, so we always got to watch their games and I looked up to the Wheat Kings so much when I was younger. But I also was a good baseball player as a kid too so it was in between hockey and baseball and last year I decided that hockey was going to be my sport.
TMMOTS – You’re play for Moose Jaw improved vastly in the second half of last season, was there a moment things just started to click for you?
JE – Just coming home at Christmas time and talking with all my friends and family, and them telling me how much I have improved and how much more I have to my game made me realize that I can still crank my game up a couple more notches. And right after the Christmas break our team went on our big road trip and that is where my game suddenly took off.
TMMOTS – Can you clarify for us who are wondering? Are you 6’4″ or 6’5″ and what is your current weight? It’s different almost everywhere you look.
JE – I am currently 6’4.5″ and my weight is about 197 lbs.
TMMOTS – When you were drafted as a second rounder by St. Louis, some thought it was a bit higher than you were expected to go, but what were your emotions when your name was called?
JE – Well, I always set high expectations for myself, so I was thinking I was going to go anywhere from the late first round to the late second round. So getting drafted at 46th was right in my ballpark. But it was a great feeling when they called my name, and it didn’t really sink in for a week or so after the draft.
TMMOTS – You’ll be expected to pick up your play big time next season in Moose Jaw as your ice time is bound to rise. What are you expectations for next season?
JE – This upcoming season I am really pushing myself on being a top the defensemen on my team, that can play in all situations. I’d also like to pick up my physical game and be the big scary guy who nobody wants to play against.
TMMOTS - So you prefer playing the shut down bruising game over the north-south offensive style?
JE - I’m mostly a stay at home defender who likes to play the physical game. That said, however, I love jumping up in the rush and creating offensive opportunities when I get the chance.
TMMOTS - You were partnered with New York Ranger prospect, Dylan McIlrath a lot last season, what was it like playing with a guy who has the same style that you do?
JE - Playing with Dylan was a great experience because he’s been to a pro camp and has been taught a lot of stuff that I am still learning. He was a great teacher for me and I looked up to him a lot. But we’re both huge bodies on the blue line with heavy shots and we both love taking the body and showing our physical game.
TMMOTS - If you had to pick one player in the NHL today that you wish you could model your game after, who would it be and why?
JE – I think I would have to compare my game to Shea Weber, just because he’s a good skater for his size, he’s an intimidating player and he has a cannon of a shot.
TMMOTS - What do you believe you have to do to become an NHL ready and NHL caliber defensemen?
JE – I think I need a least another year or two in the WHL and possibly a year in the American Hockey League, just to improve my offensive game a bit and that will give me a lot of time to workout and work on improving my foot-speed and bulking up my upper-body. But if the scouting staff in St. Louis think I amm ready before then and they want me to play with the big boys, then I’d be more then happy to skip a couple years in the minors.
TMMOTS - With Moose Jaw losing McIlrath to the Rangers/Connecticut next season, you’ll be the guy who is looked on to carry the weight of the defensive core. Do you enjoy being and that role and does it make you strive to want to be better?
JE - Well Dylan will be playing as a 19 year old this year so he wouldn’t be able to play in Connecticut, but you never know what will happen with him and the Rangers. We would love to have him back in Moose Jaw for another year but if he makes the Rangers then we’ll be just as happy. If he does end up playing in the NHL this year I would definitely have to pick up my leadership role on the team and help take over his spot and I believe I would have no troubles doing that.
I’d like to thank Joel for taking time out of his schedule to answer some questions for us so we could get to know him a little better and that we can see a little more into the life of an NHL prospects.
I wish Joel the best of luck in Moose Jaw next year and I personally can’t wait to see the numbers he puts up next year. Going to be a big year for the big defensemen I believe.