Team hopes Telegin can dazzle

Stephen Sweet - Special to the Examiner

While the Barrie Colts made a number of moves in the off-season, few are expected to have the impact that they're hoping Ivan Telegin will.

The accomplished Russian forward, acquired from Saginaw over the summer, comes to Barrie with high hopes.

Now back from the Winnipeg Jets training camp, the Colts are banking on Telegin to produce.

"He should be able to put up 30 or 40 goals, we're hoping," said Colts assistant coach Todd Miller. "He's a big power forward and if we can put him with some skilled players, he can crash and bang down low.

"There's a lot that we think can come from him."

Telegin was pleased with the opportunity to come over and play in Barrie.

"I found out when my agent in Russia (told) me," said Telegin, who is still working on his English language skills. "He ask if I like Barrie or no, and I say yes, it's a good team."

He came in knowing just one player, former Saginaw teammate Alex Lepkowski, but he seems to be getting along well with the rest of his new squad.

"I like everyone so far," Telegin said. "Everyone's helping with my English, and they teach me a little bit."

That's important, because both his junior and his parent club are hoping for an improvement to break down that barrier.

"Even in Winnipeg, they told him that he needs to work on his English a little bit more," Miller said.

Still, the Colts' staff has found a way to get around that while teaching Telegin.

"We have him in more often in meetings and do lots of video work with him," Miller said. "Rather than simply trying to explain it to him, we show him on film and it seems to work a lot better with him."

One of the things the big forward will look to improve on this season is his goal production, which dropped from 26 in 2009-10 to just 20 last year.

"I need more shots," Telegin said. "Last season in Saginaw, (I didn't take) a lot of shots. Everyone (was) telling me 'you need more shots'.

"Now, I practise more, day and night, on my shot."

Another area that the Colts hope Telegin develops his game is in his own end.

"His defensive zone play needs work, and he needs to not be running all over the place," Miller said. "That's what Winnipeg told him and reiterated to (Colts head coach) Dale (Hawerchuk) that that's what needs to work on to get to the next level.

"He's great offensively, but at that level, everyone's great offensively. You have to take care of your own end."

But the Colts brass figures he can do it, and that his six-foot-four, 185-pound frame can carry a big load this year.

"He's a big body, he skates well, and he's a really strong kid in great shape with a lot of upside," Miller said. "He's very creative and we're very happy to have him.

"He just adds to our forward lineup, where we're looking really deep."

Telegin, who was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers (now the Jets) in 2010, began his play in North America in 2009, following the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge that January.

"We go to Port Alberni to play in (the) tournament," Telegin said. "After this tournament, I decided to play (in) Canada.

"I like (the) small rink, fast skating, (lots of) hitting and (shooting), all of that."

Telegin also played on the Russian team at the 2010 world juniors alongside former Colt and current Winnipeg Jet Alexander Burmistrov, whom he met up with again at training camp.

"I (have) known Burmistrov for four years," Telegin said. "I played (with) him two years ago in Saskatoon. He's (a) good hockey player."

Now back in the OHL, Telegin has high hopes for the Colts this season.

"Of course, we go to playoffs," he said. "(I) hope to win Memorial Cup."

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