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Patience has been a virtue for Lucas Edmonds

Edmonds unique journey to the Ontario Hockey League
2022 01 11 Lucas Edmonds Fronts
Lucas Edmonds in action with the Fronts.

Most of the hockey world has been wowing over the Frontenacs star forward Shane Wright who is expected to be selected first overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. 

However, an overage OHL rookie from North Bay has been stealing some of Wright's spotlight in Kingston this year. 

"It is good to have the touted number one overall draft pick on the same team as you because there is lots of interest around him so the scouts are going to be there at every game," said Edmonds.  

"Being a player on the same team as him by default you are going to get lots of exposure so I think it is definitely beneficial in that sense." 

But Lucas Edmonds, not Shane Wright, leads the Frontenacs in scoring. In fact, they don't even play together except on the power play. 

In 26 games, Edmonds has racked up 17 goals 35 assists totaling 52 points and sits in fifth in OHL scoring. He has a number of games in hand on the players in front of him due to COVID-19. 

But to say his journey to the Ontario Hockey League has been typical, would certainly be an understatement.  

From 2016 to 2020, Edmonds navigated a route that took him overseas to Sweden where he played U16, U19, and even some pro games with Karlstrona HK. 

Edmonds, who has a Canadian and Swedish passport, was drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 OHL Priority Selection by the Kingston Frontenacs.

They offered him a chance to return to the OHL in 2020-21 in hopes of playing before the season ended up being cancelled. 

"Last season I was fortunate enough to play, as I was playing in the pro leagues over in Sweden as they were not shut down which is nice," said Edmonds.  

"However, the team I was on originally, I did not get to play a lot - there were some games where I was a scratch and whatnot. So when I felt Kingston asked me if I wanted to come and play for them for the shortened season that they were planning on having, I felt like it was a good decision because I had not played as much as I would have liked so I felt that would have been a good opportunity along with extending my season. 

"Unfortunately, the season did not happen but I guess it gave me more time to develop my strength and my game but now that has been paying off starting this season." 

The 5'11", 183 pound forward feels the transition to the big ice from Europe back to North America has been an easy one. He believes his playing style is better for the NHL size ice pads.  

"Over here you can shoot the puck from anywhere and it has a decent chance of going in so I think that is definitely one of the positives of the smaller ice," said Edmonds, who played most of his minor hockey in the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL).    

Lucas, the son of longtime junior and pro hockey coach Randy Edmonds, believes his father helped steer him in the right direction when it came to hockey. 

"My dad has definitely been a major asset for me," admitted Lucas, whose mother Pia met Randy when he was coaching overseas. 

"I am fairly certain I would not be in this position without all of his help and all of his guidance. I am obviously very grateful to have a knowledgeable and experienced person always in my corner, always rooting for me."

But Lucas admits it was not easy.

"There are pros and cons to it because the pros are he helps me out a ton but the cons may be that if I don't have a good game he will definitely let me know," he said.  

"It is not the best hearing that you are not playing great but it is definitely the tough love that I need. He does not sugarcoat anything so if he were not to do that obviously I would not be where I am today because he always wants me to be at my best but he is always rooting for me. He would not be hard on me if he did not believe in me. So I am grateful to have someone like him in my corner."

 

By the numbers 

Edmonds is putting up points on a pace that has not been seen in a long time for a North Bay product. The last local forward to put up big totals like this in major junior would be Matt Marquardt in 2006-2007 when he netted 41 goals and 20 assists for 70 points with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL. Before that Powassan's Tyler Rennette had 30 goals and 37 assists for 67 points with the Erie Otters and Darren Turcotte recorded 30 goals and 48 assists for 78 points in 1986-87 with the North Bay Centennials. 

Most recently, Brady Lyle, a defenceman, had 65 points in 62 games in 2019-20 with the Owen Sound Attack prior to the first COVID-19 season cancellation.  

With Edmonds on pace for hitting the century mark in points, he hopes scouts continue to keep an eye on him as - despite being 20 - he is actually eligible to be drafted this summer at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft scheduled for Montreal.  

"It is definitely unusual but is not something I try to think about too much because obviously, my focus has been on this season, just playing well and helping my team win," said Edmonds.  

"At the end of the season, hopefully, I have a good year and if a team wants to draft me great but if not, I am not going to be too disappointed. I am just going to keep my head down and keep working as hard as I can. I will worry about the NHL draft after this season."

Homeward bound

Although Edmonds has not played minor hockey in North Bay since he was 11, he has always called North Bay home. 

He is very excited about traveling to North Bay and playing a game at Memorial Gardens. Kingston is scheduled to play the Battalion at North Bay Memorial Gardens on February 6.  He's hoping by then his team will be allowed to play in front of friends and family.   

"It has certainly been a long time but it is definitely a date that I have marked on my calendar for sure so, I have obviously told a lot of my friends so they are certainly excited to be able to watch me play," he admitted.  

"It will be a special night for me playing in my hometown for the first time in ages so it is something I am looking forward to so it will be fun." 





Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with BayToday.ca since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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