Photo credit: Natalie Shaver, OHLPucks.com |
18-year-old defenseman Nicolas Hague was the 34th player chosen at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, and the third selected in the second round.
The team that took him, the Vegas Golden Knights, has played as many NHL regular season games as he has, something that will likely change in October, but Hague has the talent to move up on the depth chart and into the pro ranks over the next couple of years.
I had the opportunity to chat with Hague about the whirlwind the past few months have surely been, and on what makes him tick:
DF: When your name was called at the draft, what was the first thought that popped into your head?
NH: Excitement. Hearing my name called was something I dreamed about my whole life and to have that dream come true, stand up and give my parents a big hug, the people who have been by my side through everything, that is a moment I’ll never forget.
DF: How does it feel to be part of an expansion franchise and to have the chance to be part of that first wave of young players that will hopefully guide the team towards its first successes?
NH: Being in Vegas has been an amazing opportunity for me. We have an awesome group of young players and I know we are all excited for the future here. It’s cool to think that we are the first ever group of draft prospects the team has had and I’m thankful to be a part of it.
DF: Who would you say you model your game after, and why?
NH: I model my game after defensemen like Victor Hedman and Colton Parayko. They are both big d-men who move the puck well and contribute at both ends of the ice. I like to model my game after them and take little things out of their games and try to translate it into mine.
DF: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as a hockey player, if you had to pick one? Oh, and you have to pick one – there’s no choice being given here.
NH: I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is just how much work you have to put into being a pro. I’ve especially realized it now being a part of my first NHL camp. It’s all about working on the little things on and off the ice in order to better yourself as a player.
DF: If you were NHL commissioner for a day, you would ________
NH: I would organize a 3-on-3 tournament in my hometown with the teams in the league and minor hockey teams, where the kids could play against and meet the players in the NHL for a day. Live the life of an NHL player for a day.