Colin Paradis is the Red Deer Rebels newest addition on defence. (Photo courtesy of Robert Murray/WHL)

Paradis embraces top role on Rebels’ defence

Colin Paradis is doing his best to embrace the positive in his new home.

The 19-year-old defenceman was traded last Friday from the league-leading Moose Jaw Warriors to the Red Deer Rebels, who have just 10 victories this year in 42 games.

A Sherwood Park native that played his entire four-year career with the Warriors was obviously shocked initially by the deal. Now, he is excited by both the prospect of being closer to home and the idea of playing more.

“Definitely surprised, I think with any trade there is some shock, in the beginning, found out right before a game. Pretty surprised,” Paradis said.

“After that, pretty excited to be back in Alberta close to home.”

In Moose Jaw, Paradis was often deployed as a third pairing d-man, but so far through three games with the Rebels, he has played top minutes with Alex Alexeyev.

“Already in the past three games, my role has increased from what it was. Really excited about that and I want to continue taking on that role and earning it every day,” Paradis said.

Rebels Associate coach Jeff Truitt said that’s been a great situation for both players.

“He’s a mobile defenceman who can move the puck and make great decisions. In the defensive zone he’s usually on the right side of the puck. He defends well. Poise with the puck,” Truitt said of Paradis.

“He’s fit in very well, I think he’s helped Alex (Alexeyev). He’s helped with a little more puck control and he’s complimented him very well.”

The six-foot, 181-pound, left shot defender has two points in three games with the Rebels, but he insists his impact will be on the other end of the ice.

“Definitely, puck moving, defensive zone first-type game,” Paradis said.

“Just be a steady, solid presence for the young guys. When things are getting a little hectic, try and calm things down. Show them the way a little bit.”

As one of just a handful of 19-year-olds on the Rebels roster, Paradis also understands his job as an elder statesmen. He said mentoring and helping younger players develop will be a big part of his role this season, and if he returns as a 20-year-old next year.

“Just little details we have to try and focus on right now. That makes a big difference. Making sure that they use their skill and their energy in the right way and focus on the details,” he said.

Truitt added that Paradis, even from day 1 has tried to bring a calming presence to the young d-core.

“Even in his first game with us, he was talking on the bench and calming things down when we needed to. Speaking up with his defensive partner about some of the details of the game which was great,” Truitt said.

Paradis insists that beyond focusing on the details, his advice for the young Rebels is the tried and tested K.I.S.S. method.

“The biggest thing is when things are not going you’re way, not to panic. Bear down,” he said.

“Just the simplest play is always the best play. Try not to over complicate things.”

For the future, Paradis said he’s focused on the here and now but knows if he plays well, there could be an opportunity in Red Deer next season.

“There are going to be some 20 spots open and it’s going to be a battle. Kind of like a tryout right now,” he said.

The Rebels are on the ice Friday night at the Centrium against the Lethbridge Hurricanes with puck drop set for 7 p.m.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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