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Lowe Branching Out at Conditioning Camp

Tuesday, 07.12.2011 / 9:51 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
As tough as the Hurricanes’ conditioning camp might be, Keegan Lowe is enjoying this visit to Raleigh more than his last.

Paul Branecky
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Lowe, an 18-year-old defenseman playing for Edmonton of the Western Hockey League, was is town back in June of 2006 to see his father’s Oilers take on the Hurricanes in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. That event did not turn out the way he had hoped at the time, but he said he carries no painful memories into camp this week.

“I was over it before the draft,” said the Canes’ recent third-round pick, smiling.

Lowe, the son of longtime Oilers player and front office executive Kevin Lowe, made headlines at the draft when his father revealed to the media that his son had requested that the Oilers not draft him if given the opportunity. The younger Lowe didn’t mention that at the time of his selection, but explained his decision following Monday’s on-ice session at the Polar Ice House in Wake Forest.

“As a kid I always dreamed of playing for the Oilers, but when it actually came up I started thinking about all the different situations that would come with it,” he said. “That organization has always been great to me, but there have been a lot of naysayers in my life and I had to go off on my own. I wanted to prove that it’s been me the whole time and I’m just getting pointers from my dad like everyone else.”

If Lowe does have a leg up on the 11 other campers in town this week, it’s his familiarity with the process. It’s designed to be an eye opener for prospects who may not come in with an understanding of how much off-ice preparation goes into being an NHL player.

Though he’s going through it himself for the first time, Lowe, who’s been around the Oilers organization his whole life, more or less knows the drill.

“I’ve been to a lot of development camps just because growing up I’d have time off in the summer and would want to come hang around and see what guys were doing,” he said. “In some ways I still didn’t know what to expect because every team does their training differently, but this is where I’ll be from now on, so it’s good to come down here to see what they want.”

While aware of his family history, it’s clear that the Hurricanes selected him based on his own merit. Having bulked up significantly over the course of last season – Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald estimates that he’s grown from his listing of 6-foot-1 and 176 pounds – he’s now able to effectively play his preferred rugged style (he racked up 123 penalty minutes last season) while shutting down opposing forwards.

With that in mind, it’s his untapped offensive potential that has the Hurricanes excited about what they see as an eventual two-way threat. Point totals over his two-year junior career have been modest thus far – he’s scored 2 goals in each season, topping out at 24 points in year two – but from the quick and accurate release he’s shown at this week’s camp, it’s clear he could score more.

Having honed his defensive game, something that was required of him when breaking into the rough-and-tumble WHL as a 16-year-old and is still his priority today, his goal for next season and beyond is become a better all-around player.

“This season I was definitely more defensive, but when I was younger I loved to rush the puck,” he said. “I know I have a lot more to offer on the offensive side. I’m a much better offensive player than 2 goals.”





1 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
2 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
3 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
4 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
5 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
6 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
7 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
8 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79


E. Staal 79 21 40 -13 61
J. Skinner 71 33 21 -14 54
A. Sekera 74 11 33 4 44
A. Semin 65 22 20 1 42
J. Staal 82 15 25 2 40
J. Faulk 76 5 27 -9 32
N. Gerbe 81 16 15 -6 31
J. Tlusty 68 16 14 2 30
R. Nash 73 10 14 0 24
P. Dwyer 75 8 14 -2 22
A. Khudobin 19 14 1 .926 2.30
C. Ward 10 12 6 .898 3.06