BRYAN WILSON – 07.05.2023
It was an unforgettable season for Nick DeSimone.
He tied his career high in points in 2022-23 with 46 in 65 games, and finished the season T-7th overall in scoring amongst AHL defencemen, including registering the third highest plus/minus at plus-28.
Plenty to build on heading into next season.
“It was statistically one of my best seasons, so that’s always good. I had a lot of trust from the coaching staff, and my teammates,” explained DeSimone. “We were the best team in the league during the regular season, and team success breeds individual success, so you can look up and down the lineup at how many other guys that had career years.”
“Maybe it wasn’t necessarily statistics,” he continued. “But it was getting called up, playing in the NHL, playing more minutes or playing a bigger role. So, when you’re on a team like we were on, it always helps the individual, it goes hand-in-hand there. The trust from the coaching staff was huge, playing in all situations and showing that I can play the offensive game, but I can also play the defensive game, as well. It was a good year for me and something to build on too, with another year in Calgary, so I’m excited to keep building on that.”
DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) took some time at home to rest and recoup with family and friends after the Wranglers’ season came to an end in Round 3 of the Calder Cup Playoffs a month prior. Now, as he begins to ramp up his offseason training, DeSimone has surrounded himself with a solid network of professional and junior hockey players to help push him in the gym and keep things competitive on the ice.
“It’s great, we’re lucky to be here. It’s definitely a bit of a hockey city,” he said. “A lot of my friends actually play in the AHL or NHL so it makes it easy. It’s a pretty good group of guys who skate together. We have a great group of pro, college and younger junior guys to skate with, so it makes things easy for us, since there’s so many guys who play at a high level who we can skate with over the summer.”
The 28-year-old earned his first taste of NHL action during the 2022-23 season, when he joined the Flames on recall in early November. DeSimone appeared in four games before returning to the Wranglers, where he finished out the season. Having his NHL dream realised in his eighth professional season, and to finally get a taste of the big time, just made him hungrier, and it motivates him each day as he trains and prepares for next season.
“It’s my lifelong dream to play in the NHL,” he explained. “So, when you’ve got the taste of it and get the opportunity, now all you want is more. I just want to keep stacking games on, and prove to everybody that I can do that on a nightly basis. It gives you a bit more motivation, and you always want to check boxes and have goals for yourself. My goal is to play in the NHL, so every day, every year, you’ve got to earn that. That’s been my focus since I started playing pro, and that’s still my focus.”