BRYAN WILSON – 11.15.2022
Cole Schwindt is currently putting the ‘power’ in powerplay.
In his first season with the Wranglers, Schwindt has been money lately when the team’s a man-up, scoring three PP markers in his last two outings.
Through the first 12 games, the Wranglers have – thanks, in part, to Schwindt – the second-highest ranked powerplay in the AHL currently operating at 27.9%. The penalty-kill has been commendable too, ranked top-5 in the league heading into the week at 85.4%
“For all of us on the powerplay, obviously there’s set roles and plays that we can do, and they’ve been working so far,” said Schwindt. “There’s a rough structure for the way you want to play, but at the end of the day, it’s down to our own skill to put the puck in the back of the net.
“The coaching staff lets us do our thing and it’s been working so far.”
Schwindt scored 19 goals and was plus-22 last season with the Charlotte Checkers, and this year his innate ability to drive offence has benefitted the Wranglers. He scored four goals on eight shots in two games against the Manitoba Moose over the weekend and picked up ‘First Star’ honours on Nov. 11.
But he does more than score.
At 6-foot-3 ,195-lb., he skates well, he’s been capable in the faceoff circle, and continues to play a compelling 200-foot game. These elements get magnified when killing penalties and Schwindt has certainly been up to the challenge.
“One of the main things that I take pride in is the penalty-kill,” said Schwindt. “For me, coming into a new organization, we play a little bit differently, but at the same time, you’re still killing penalties, you’re still a man-down and you still have to be desperate and that’s one of those things I take a lot of pride in.”
Schwindt was acquired in the blockbuster trade during the offseason that sent Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers, in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, a conditional first-round draft pick (2025) and himself.
Now entering his third pro campaign since being drafted 81st-overall by the Panthers in 2019, it’s been evident early on that this isn’t Schwindt’s first rodeo.
Still, after a whirlwind offseason, the kid from Kitchener admits it took a while for the dust to settle.
“I think coming to a new team, it takes time to get used to everything,” he said. “Getting used to each other and getting used to how they want to play the game here. It’s a little bit different to what I’m used to in the past.”
“For me, I’m just excited to be here. I think, as a hockey player, you want to play where you’re wanted, and ever since I’ve stepped-foot here in Calgary, it’s been great. It’s a lot of fun to be here.”