By Everett Silvertips staff
EVERETT, Wash. – When the 2016-17 training camp began, a cornucopia of forwards lined up to potentially make waves in the Everett Silvertips plans – either by way of taking their game next level, or breaking through as a first-timer.
Maybe at that time, the only guy who realized Orrin Centazzo’s big plans was Orrin Centazzo.
The fifth round pick of the Silvertips from 2015 – and the pride of Marwayne, Alberta – planned on catching every eyeball in training camp and then turning an opening night roster spot into significant exposure.
He checked all boxes. The diminutive but twitchy quick 5-foot-7 forward suited up in 41 games, and turned the available ice time into four goals and nine points. He kept taking leaps and bounds so much, that not only was it impossible for the Silvertips to keep Centazzo in the press box, but it was imperative to put him on the top two lines when injuries became a concern around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Because of his ability to commit defensively and be in the right spots, he played everywhere throughout the lineup. Centazzo turned in his first goal as a slam dunk rebound, parked fearlessly at the net against Kamloops, and even dotted his freshman campaign with a snazzy goal off the rush against the Seattle Thunderbirds in downtown Everett, en route to a 3-0 win in November.
The door prematurely shut Centazzo’s season in February, at Prince Albert and on the Tips eastern swing. A high hit by Kolby Johnson at center ice broke Centazzo’s collarbone (Johnson would receive a five minute major and game misconduct), forcing the Tips forward to miss the remainder of the season.
It’s assumed that triggers enough motivation to reach the “next level” next season.
Silvertips assistant coach Mitch Love offered analysis of Centazzo’s rookie season:
MITCH LOVE, ON ORRIN CENTAZZO’S IMPACT:
LOVE: “Orrin was originally a bit of an unknown for us at the beginning of the year – meaning, we didn’t think he would be here as a 16-year old. But he was so impressive in training camp, there was no way we could send him back to midget level hockey – because of his skill set. He does some wonderful things with the puck.
I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but he’s very reminiscent of Josh Winquist (editor’s note: Winquist had 3 goals and 7 points in 50 games in his 09-10 rookie season). His hockey sense and ability to make skilled plays is something special. It’s very unfortunate that we lost him (due to injury) in February because I thought in December and January, when he got a chance to slide up the lineup due to injuries to our forwards, he was able to play with different guys and hold his own.
He’s not a big guy in stature. His offseason should be focused on gaining a few pounds on and getting a little bit quicker. That will help him find himself offensively as a 17-year old.”
RE: ON CENTAZZO’S VERSATILITY HELPING HIM FIND A SPOT IN THE LINEUP:
LOVE: “Definitely, and we found out this winter he was able to play with our top line and even with our fourth line because he is responsible defensively. It was nice to have that flexibility. He was a ‘sleeper 16-year old’ in our league. We see a lot of 16-17 year olds who go home for the summer after a year in the WHL and come back as ‘comfortable.’ He still has something to prove based on last season’s injury and hopefully he’s getting back to full health. We’re really excited about his future here.”