Klimchuk Talks Trade, Embracing Opportunity in Belleville
Morgan Klimchuk did not get an early notice of his trade to the Belleville Senators (in exchange for Gabriel Gagne), but he still joined the club on the road in Grand Rapids, Michigan and managed a goal and an assist in his second game with his new teammates.
"It was a scramble, I found out pretty last minute," said Klimchuk of Friday's trade, "in terms of, I had to get to the airport and the hotel", debuting just a few short hours later.
Four days and two road games later, Klimchuk is fitting into his surroundings, following a morning practice at the CAA Arena in Belleville.
"Honestly, getting to see the facilities, it's unbelievable," said Morgan Klimchuk of his new home. "It's above and beyond what I expected, comparable to some of the best locker rooms in the league. I'm very impressed with what I've seen so far."
"Being back in Canada is nice," said the Regina Saskatchewan native, "you notice a difference for sure the fans are a little more knowledgeable, a little more engaged and passionate about their teams, little things like that," Klimchuk added he enjoyed his time in (Stockton) California.
"Solid two-way guy," added Klimchuk, who checks in at 6-0, 185-pounds when asked to describe his playing style. "I take pride in playing all situations playing hard every night."
The 23-year noted playing different roles in Toronto and Stockton skewed his point totals with the Marlies scoring twice in 13 games: "I started playing a lot more of a defensive role, penalty killing, and shut down minutes." "I started to grow my offensive role, playing power play and put up some good numbers," he noted of his time with the Heat.
"He came as advertised", said Head Coach Troy Mann, "coming off two forty plus point seasons in Stockton, some of his goals are empty netters because you're going to want him on the ice at the end of the game."
Excited to play in more of an offensive role in the Friendly city.
"A more offensive role here and with more opportunity, it comes down to situations, the points will start to come again," said Klimchuk who has six goals and six assists in 32 games this season.
"I project him on a really good AHL team to be a third line guy that can move up into your second line," said Troy Mann.
"They've been positive," said Klimchuk of his early conversations with his new bench boss.
For the former Calgary Flames first-rounder (28th overall in 2013) two points with his new club hasn't gone unnoticed, ''[The coach] is happy with my performance in the first two games".
No doubt, Belleville hockey fans will also find a lot to like in the natural left winger's game.