He’s Irma, Alberta’s act-II for the Seattle Kraken, 18-year-old forward prospect Jagger Firkus, who hails from the same hometown as Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy. Firkus’s older brother and Soucy were best friends growing up.
Aside from their origins and the fact the NHL D-man had plenty of advice for the WHL winger after he was drafted by Seattle in the 2nd-round, 35th-overall this summer, on-ice comparisons are extremely limited.
Soucy is a 6-5 inch, 210-pound banger on the Kraken blueline, while Jagger (pronounced with a hard ‘J’) is a slippery, undersized winger with sick hands.
You won’t see Soucy pulling off the lacrosse style goal that Firkus scored last April in a Western Hockey League playoff game against Saskatoon, but you will hear of him giving the younger player sound advice on work-outs and preparing like a pro. They’re tight; their hometown, about 110 miles southeast of Edmonton, has less than 600 residents.
Firkus’s Moose Jaw Warriors team has a handful of prospects. 17-year-old right-shot center Brayden Yager leads the team in scoring with 23 points and is considered a top-5 pick by many in the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft. His right wing Firkus is next with 21 points.
The top three scorers on the team all have nine goals at the moment, the third player being Calvin Atley, an undrafted 19-year-old playing in his hometown.
Denton Mateychuk, drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 1st-round at 12th-overall this past July, is a lefty defenseman who’s fourth in scoring.
It seems Firkus will have an opportunity to expand a leadership role with the team as the season moves on, one that finds the Warriors with the 5th best winning percentage in the WHL’s eastern conference. Some believe at this point the club is underachieving, but it basically means the scoring depth drops off quickly near the top, and as a team the Warriors have given up as many goals as they’ve scored.
It shouldn’t be a reflection on Firkus. He’s handled a pretty heady summer and fall. He played in top prospect games, he participated in Canada’s World Junior summer showcase, he performed well at Seattle Kraken Development Camp a week after the Draft and was back for big camp in September.
“There’s lot of stuff that they like and there’s lots of stuff that the feel I need to improve on as well,” Firkus said about the Kraken during an interview in Moose Jaw. “For one thing it’s just kind of being more mature, not that I’m not mature, but kind of getting ready for the next level, everyone is more mature. I was able to go around with Carson Soucy this summer, you may have heard that story, it’s pretty cool, I was kind of under his wing for a lot of the summer and he’s been pretty helpful any time I have questions.”
Pros and Cons
You can’t teach size, but you can teach physical development and of course how to build core strength and add some bulk. Fortunately for Firkus, in today’s NHL, being undersized is hardly the detriment it used to be.
Nick Richard wrote for Dobber’s Prospects:
“He has a tendency to stick to the perimeter at times and it will be interesting to see if he develops more of an attacking mindset as he matures physically, but he is still dangerous from the outside, both as a shooter and as a passer. Firkus will need to continue to work on his lower body strength to improve his explosiveness and ability to protect pucks down low, but he has no shortage of enticing offensive potential.”
Firkus has 9 goals and 12 assists in 17 games this season after finishing with 80 points in 66 games last season with Moose Jaw. He finished as the team’s leading scorer as a 16-going-on-17-year-old.
Firkus is a quick, instinctive thinker offensively who’ll need to work on that physical development and the defensive responsibilities that come with growing up as a player in more ways than one.