‘Down on the farm’ is a bi-weekly feature series on Oil Caps prospects. Next up in this series: Roux Bazin. Enjoy.
By Lanny Stewart
Let’s rewind the clock to the early parts of last year.
After spending some time scouting a bantam provincial tournament, it didn’t take long for Troy Leslie, Oil Caps head coach and GM, to come away impressed with a player who wound up being the club’s first round pick just a few months later.
“He caught my eye right away,” Leslie said of Roux Bazin, selected 10thoverall by the Oil Caps in the 2018 MJHL Bantam Draft last June.
At that time, the 5-foot-10, 160-pound forward was making waves in hockey circles, generating draft buzz from not only the MJHL but also the WHL as a member of the Pembina Valley Hawks bantam AAA squad. He played 31 games with the club a year ago, scoring 25 goals and 46 points, finishing the year with the third-most goals and points on his team.
“I liked the way he got around the rink,” Leslie said of Bazin, who wound up being drafted by the Victoria Royals in the eighth round (170thoverall) in last year’s WHL Bantam Draft. “Some guys stand out as all-around hockey players and he’s one of those guys. He’s clearly got a good hockey IQ and a passion for the game.”
That “passion for the game” as Leslie described and ability to play at both ends of the rink had the Oil Caps bench boss immediately drawing comparisons to current Oil Cap and captain of the team Ben Dalke.
“They’re both Pembina Valley kids, but they’re both pretty much the same height and stature and they’re just very competitive guys,” Leslie added.
Jamie Hodson, director of business and hockey operations, says the Oil Caps were pleasantly surprised at the draft knowing Bazin was there for the taking with their first pick.
“We weren’t sure if we were going to get an opportunity to grab him,” Hodson said. “He can play so many roles. He’s a guy who can play up the middle and is very talented offensively. But that’s just the start of it. He can put the puck in the net, but he can also be creative which enables his teammates to make themselves better players as well.”
Hodson also spoke glowingly about Bazin’s ability to play responsibly in all three zones.
“He kills penalties, he’s on the power play, he’s good at a lot of things, a lot of different areas of the game. We like the potential of Roux, in a year or so, potentially being a piece of the puzzle for us depending on the direction that he’s going to go.”
Bazin immersed himself in hockey at an early age
For Bazin, a Treherne product, that love for the game came early for him, he says.
“As a kid I was always exposed to hockey, either practicing with my brother at the rink or watching NHL games on TV,” he said. “I started playing at a very young age and loved the sport.”
Bazin, who attended the Oil Caps fall camp, taking part in both the intrasquad game and rookie contest against the Portage Terriers, says he’d love to play for the Oil Caps in the future but that his focus is on this season. He currently leads his team, the Pembina Valley Hawks midget AAA squad, in scoring in his first year in the league with 24 goals and 37 points in 33 games (as of Jan. 21).
“I would love to play in Virden and hopefully take my hockey to the next level, but right now I’m just focusing on my season and working at developing as a player,” Bazin added.
Jeff Andrews, co-head coach of the Hawks squad Bazin plays for, says his impressive skating ability is what enables him to have so much success so early on in midget hockey.
“He’s got such a great, deep knee bend in his stride and it helps him to really move up and down the ice so well and he can put himself in positions that a lot of other guys can’t just in terms of trying different moves on the ice when going around defencemen and those types of things,” he said. “He has a game that’s built around a really solid foundation through his skating and for us, it’s been a pleasure to be involved with Roux and to help him develop as a hockey player.”
A scout’s take
Brian Elder, Oil Caps scout, describes Bazin as an “electric player.”
“He has great balance, plays physical and with great pace,” he said. “He’s a character kid that fits in nicely with our ’03 group. He is someone that our group really wanted last year, and we were very excited to get him.”
Interesting tidbits about Bazin . . .
-Roux’s name stems from his father’s side of the family being French and his mother’s side being Icelandic and Irish.
-In Bazin’s first year with the Pembina Valley Hawks bantam AAA team a few seasons ago, his club managed to win gold at the rural provincial championship in Stonewall. Coming into the tournament as underdogs, the Hawks managed to beat the Eastman Selects in the championship final, Bazin says.
-Asked to compare his game to an NHL player, Bazin says his game resembles that of Nikolaj Ehlers of the Winnipeg Jets.
-Bazin made the Manitoba under-16 hockey team that will compete at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer from Feb. 15 to March 3.
-In his downtime, he enjoys fishing, golfing, swimming, water sports and hanging out with friends.
-Bazin’s current coach had some fond words when describing him off the ice. “He can laugh and joke around and gets right in there with the joking and ribbing of teammates,” Andrews said. “He’s a guy that wants to do well in whatever he wants to do. I get that feeling from him in terms of his academics and just his interactions with his peers. He’s a guy that wants to be well-liked and a guy that would do anything for his teammates. It’s easy to recognize that when he’s around the guys.”