Kameron Kielly taking steps to the road to the NHL

Kameron Kielly is working hard to make sure he hears his name called at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise, Fla.

The third-year veteran, and Charlottetown Islanders assistant captain, is in his first season of draft eligibility. Despite having a December 1996 birthday, Kielly cannot be drafted into the NHL until 2015.

“I put a couple of hours a day into the gym in the summer and got myself stronger and more ready,” said the Charlottetown, P.E.I, native. “I don’t really think about it too much.”

He is one of five Charlottetown Islanders players on the radar to be drafted this year with Daniel Sprong, Filip Chlapik, Alexandre Goulet and David Henley.

Its fun to go through the process with other teammates, said Kielly.

“I learn things from them as they go on. They have media around them all the time so I take little things from them.”

Central Scouting Services released its 2015 Preliminary Players to Watch list last earlier in November and Kielly was given a C rating. That indicates he is a candidate to be taken in the fourth to sixth rounds.

Unlike most players, Kielly doesn’t feel the extra pressure on him.

“When you start thinking like that, I think that’s when you’re in trouble as a player. I just go out and play every night.”

Though the draft is still only six months away, Kielly already knows what he’ll tell the NHL teams during pre-draft interviews.

“Two-way guy and guy that loves to win and will do anything it takes out there to help the team win.”

Islanders head coach Gordie Dwyer described Kielly as a character player.

“I think he projects well in the NHL. I think he has the chance to be a third line, second line centreman.

Those guys that play both sides of the puck can play the game the right way…they are few and far between. He does a lot of things the right way out there and he leads by example.”

Dwyer said Kielly deserves to and will be drafted.

“He’s come a long way from his first few seasons in the Q. He’s a go-to-guy for us. He’s a guy that can play in every situation, he’s a guy that we want on the ice in every situation and his game continues to improve as he moves along.”

Coming a long way is the perfect case for Kielly.

Kielly was originally an 18th overall pick by the Gatineau Olympiques in 2012. Though he played in all but eight games in his rookie season with Gatineau, Kielly didn’t see much ice time and only had two goals and six points to show for.

On Aug. 19, 2013, Kielly was acquired by his hometown Islanders, along with two draft picks, for a first-round pick in 2014 and defenceman Alexandre Chenier Allard.

Kielly made an immediate impact with the Islanders, scoring the game-winning goal in his first game as an Islander, giving the Islanders its first win as the re-branded team. He ended last season with 10 goals and 31 points in 66 games.

Islanders moved him from the wing to the middle and had him playing against the league’s top players, said Dwyer.

“He thrived in that position. He’s goal orientated. He’s a guy that’s out there that wants to get the job done and he plays with purpose.

Since that move last year, credit to Kameron on really developing in that role. He’s one of those top guys that can produce offensively but still play against and shut down some offensive guys.”

Kielly put a lot of hours of work into the summer to get ready not just for the upcoming draft but also for the season.

“I worked a lot on my shot…and strength obviously. Strength is key. I spent a lot of hours at the gym working on my strength and getting stronger.”

He does feel he could be more consistent on the ice this season.

“I’m not going to put up points every night but consistent in my hard work, being a two-way guy and someone to rely on. I feel that’s the big thing as a young player in this league and for a young player in general.”

As of Dec. 11, Kielly has nine goals and 24 points in 32 games and sits third in team scoring.

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