“If you’re worried about the mountain in the distance, you may trip over the molehill right in front of you.”
– Drew Brees
Through two seasons, Jake Christiansen stands tall at 6-foot-1, weighs 185 pounds, and carries a near impenetrable will.
Case in point: it was impossible to keep him out of the lineup last season. He played in all 72 games, all 10 playoff games, earned a career-high 19 points, six goals, and a +16 rating.
He did all of this while the playing time on the Silvertips blueline was at a premium. Once the Silvertips traded for Aaron Irving at the deadline, it meant the elder statesmen Noah Juulsen, Lucas Skrumeda, Kevin Davis, and Irving were at the top of the totem pole for key minutes and special teams time.
There was no NHL Entry Draft in the cards, however. Onto next year.
Heading into next season, the native of West Vancouver now has a broad, plain, and clear sheet to start over with. He’ll now work with Kelowna-based skating and skills coach Aaron Konescni, also partnering with Riley Sutter. And in case you need a refresher, he’s done work on Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, and Peter Mueller.
So what lies ahead for Jake Christiansen 3.0? Tips assistant coach Mitch Love shared more:
RE: Christiansen’s previous season
MITCH LOVE: I thought Jake had a pretty successful 17 year old season. It’s tough for kids that age, draft eligible, to keep their focus on the day to day process of improving their game. When Jake came back as a 17-year old there was a bit of a speed bump, in terms of finding out what he needed to get accomplished. He was a little more driven toward draft status early in the year.
We acquired Aaron Irving at the trade deadline. What I was impressed with Jake was a challenge he took of being a veteran defenseman but not losing those minutes. I thought his game elevated and he was a big part of our team in the playoffs. I was impressed with what he had to deal with mentally.
RE: Is it possible to successfully define a role yet?
LOVE: Going into his 18 year old season, he’ll be my most veteran defenseman on the left side. He’s got an advantage there. But we’re in a business that’s driven by results. He’s going to have to earn power play time and earn special teams minutes. He was a big part of our PK as a 17 year old and that will continue. At the end of the day you have to perform, execute, and earn the trust of the coaching staff. Jake’s a great kid. He understands how this program works.
RE: What do you look from him next season?
LOVE: Improving his skating, and he spends a lot of time on that in the summer. His explosiveness, and he’s a kid who’s still growing and hasn’t quite settled into his body completely. But taking that next step to the pro level, your ability as a defenseman to make quick decisions with the puck and nine times out of ten make sure it’s on your forward’s stick – those are big things. He has to improve those but his explosiveness in the gym, his skating, and his offensive game will be crucial. Just get pucks on net with some “umph.”