Paul Postma speaks fondly of St. John’s, Nfld. — its restaurants, the sense of community, the ocean view from his bedroom window. Everything, really.
So it’s easy to believe the former Swift Current Broncos defenceman when he says he really loves it there.
You just wouldn’t know it by the way he’s been playing.
Just over one-third of the way through the American Hockey League’s regular season, Postma leads the St. John’s IceCaps’ blueliners and sits third among all AHL rearguards with 23 points in 23 games.
Those figures would almost surely be even more impressive if not for a three-game call-up with the Winnipeg Jets earlier this year.
They’re also the kind of stats that seem to indicate Postma could be leaving The Rock for the bright lights of the NHL — again — on a moment’s notice.
With no disrespect to the fine folks of St. John’s, that would be just fine with Postma.
“It’s something I can’t control, but if I get the chance of course I’m going to do the best I can,” said the Red Deer native, who played 270 games in the WHL with Swift Current and the Calgary Hitmen from 2005-09.
Postma made his WHL debut with the Broncos in 2004-05, playing four games during his 15-year-old season.
After scoring 24 points in 70 games in 2006-07, he was drafted in the seventh round, 205th overall of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers.
Then he was gone — traded just two games into the following season to the Calgary Hitmen, where he went on to set single-season club records for goals and points by a defenceman in 2008-09.
“The trade was tough because were in a situation where we had to make a move and, believe me, he was not the guy that we wanted to give up,”
Former Broncos head coach and general manager Dean Chynoweth said earlier this month.
“But that being said, looking at where we were as an organization, it was a trade that worked out well for both teams in the end.”
The trade was Postma and 19 year-old Kyle Bortis to Calgary for 19 year-old forward Keegan Dansereau and defenceman Brett Plouffe.
The Broncos then flipped Plouffe to Tri-City for overager Erik Felde.
Ditto for Postma, who went on to play two seasons for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves before making his NHL debut with the Atlanta Thrashers this March.
Postma remained part of the organization when the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg this summer, and played a second NHL stint in November. He registered three shots on goal and an even plus-minus rat ing in
25 minutes of ice time over three games, then left the Jets following a death in his family.
“Obviously it was a lot different from last year in terms of having the confidence to play there,” said Postma.
“The biggest thing for me is knowing now that I have the ability to play there, and I just have to be confident in myself.”
That confidence has shone through with the IceCaps since returning from the NHL, and being in the final year of his entry-level contract has only added to Postma’s motivation.
“I try not to worry about that right now and just play consistently well every night, but it’s obviously in the back of my mind that I want to have a good year,” he said.
Brad Brown is with the Swift Current Prairie Post reporter.