Thursday, September 11, 2014

Returning Winterhawk Profile: #13 Keegan Iverson

(Editors Note: In the countdown to the season opener on September 19th, I will be looking, individually, at each of the returning Winterhawks who will be on the opening night roster)

Next Up (in numerical fashion) #13 Keegan Iverson

Born: 4/5/1996
Hometown: St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Position: Center
How Acquired: Signed on 3/18/2012 after being added to the protected list.

-2011/12(15 year old): 1 Game Played, 0 Goals, 0 Assists, 0 Points, 0, 0 Penalty Minutes
               Playoffs: 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 Pts, 0 PIMs
-2012/13: 47 GP, 6 G, 4 A, 10 Pts, +4, 69 PIMs
               Playoffs: 17 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Pts, 15 PIMs
-2013/14: 67 GP, 22 G, 20 A, 42 Pts, +16, 70 PIMs
               Playoffs: 21 GP, 4 G, 4 A, 8 Pts, 12 PIMs

NHL Drafted: New York Rangers 3rd Round Pick (85th Overall) in 2014. Unsigned.

-Iverson provided instant size and tenacity into the Winterhawks lineup during his 16 year old season. He has a large frame that intimidates opposing Defensemen, is a solid puck carrier and is near immovable from in front of the other team's net. His role increased last year into a checking line Wing position with fellow draft eligible Hawks: Alex Schoenborn and Dominic Turgeon. He excelled in the checking portion of this role for sure, throwing his 215 lbs around, showing that he knows how to use his NHL caliber size and even potting 22 Goals, including a 4 game goal streak last October. Iverson enjoys going into the difficult areas and sticking up for his teammates and is also not afraid to drop the mits. One thing Iverson does need to work on to make the next level is his scoring touch. His size allows him to get open for a lot of good caliber shots, but he has not consistently shown that his hard wrist shot and one timer has the accuracy needed to become a professional.

Iverson also has a close relationship with paralyzed hockey player Jack Jablonski, which is the reason he wears #13 for Portland.

-With the loss of Taylor Leier and Brendan Leipsic off the top 6 forward unit, Iverson could be slated for a spot on the Wing of one of those lines. His background as a former D-man, gives him the acumen in his own zone to be trusted as a top penalty killer. Look for him to again play in front of the net on the second power play unit as well. Besides Adam De Champlain, Iverson may be the most hated Winterhawk around the league, as he plays with his emotions on his sleeve often and has been suspended multiple times (including this preseason) for head shots. Portland needs him on the ice, however and for him to grow into a consistent goal scorer. He is a power forward and the great ones tend to score big goals in big situations. In game 6 of last year's WHL Final, he scored the overtime game winner and will be relied upon to score these goals more often this season.

Iverson could miss time at the start of the season while he is at the Traverse City tournament and at Ranger camp to start the season. Keegan could also be asked to play in the World Junior Championships this December/January. He played in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament last year and scored 1 goal in 5 games. This was enough for him to be a late invite to the USA jr. development camp, this summer before he was cut and sent home. Iverson's ticket to the WJCs may not be punched until next year by the looks of it, unless he shows an improved scoring touch and starts lighting up the scoreboard. If Iverson makes large strides in his offensive game to go along with his imposing physical game, he will be tough for other WHL squads to stop.

Previous Returning Winterhawk Profiles: Brendan Burke, Anton Cederholm, Ethan Price, Josh Hanson, Paul Bittner, Chase De Leo, Adam De Champlain.

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