By Nate Sager, Buzzing the Net
Dwelling on the past will not get Brock Beukeboom anywhere.
Two years ago, the odds that the 6-foot-2, 215-pound defenceman would end up playing an overage season in junior would have been remote. The Uxbridge, Ont., native was a relatively high NHL pick, 63rd overall, attended Hockey Canada’s under-20 summer development camp and was named captain of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds early in his third season. Of course, a concussion sustained that season set him back; he missed 46 games due to injuries across the last two years with the Soo and Niagara IceDogs.
Now the veteran defenceman, determined not to be discouraged, is hoping for a bounce-back year with the Guelph Storm. Beukeboom was the first big-name blueliner to move to a contender when the Storm picked him up last week from the IceDogs for three priority selection draft picks, including a 2014 second-rounder. It’s another lifeline and shot at a pro contract for Beukeboom, whom the St. Louis Blues declined to sign last spring.
“I know for a fact last year that St. Louis didn’t sign me because of my injuries,” Beukeboom, 20, said last Friday after his first game with the Storm. “Maybe I could have been in the ‘A,’ I don’t know. I’m playing well. I know teams are watching me. It’s just a matter of helping the team out. It’s a really good situation.”
The Storm, who are fourth in the Western Conference with a .639 point percentage and have scored a league-best 76 goals in 18 games, make the Sleeman Centre a fairly cheery place when they’re in good form. Their twin bugaboos have been inconsistency and the back-end depth beyond their two drafted defenders, Toronto Maple Leafs high second-rounder Matt Finn and 6-foot-5 Andrey Pedan, whom the New York Islanders selected in the third round in 2010. They lost 2-of-3 last weekend with Beukeboom freshly added to the fold, although Pedan was sitting out the first three of a four-game suspension for a match penalty. Pedan sits out the last game of his suspension on Wednesday.