Slater Koekkoek, D
Hometown: Mountain, Ontario
Drafted: 2012 by Tampa Bay Lightning, 10th Overall
February 2018 – In their quest for the 2018 Stanley Cup, the Lightning made a major transaction to acquire Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller from the New York Rangers. The acquisition of McDonagh will likely last only until the expiration of his contract, however, in the short term, this will certainly hurt Koekkoek outlook. The former first round pick, has already been struggling to earn significant ice time this season, so there is little doubt that the acquisition of a more highly skilled version of himself will all but block him from getting in the lineup for the remainder of the season. Based on this acquisition, and what we've seen throughout the year, the chances of Koekkoek even returning for the Bolts next season have greatly diminished. If he does, by some miracle, last until the expiration of McDonagh's contract, he'll continue to jockey with Cal Foote for a similar role in 2019-20. Brayden Olafson
February 2018 – After being used sparingly throughout the first half of the season, the Lightning were finally forced to bump up Koekkoek's deployment with the Lightning, while number-one defenseman, Victor Hedman recovered from injury. There have been an increasing number of rumors in regards to his status with the Lightning as teams approach the trade deadline, however, Hedman's injury will have likely given the Lightning some pause in the situation, while allowing them to truly evaluate the former 10th overall draft-pick. The lefty logged a year high, 18:34 in ice-time on January 23rd in a 4-3 overtime win versus the Nashville Predators and tallied an assist in the win. Two games later, in Hedman's return, he was left out of the lineup versus the Winnipeg Jets. Koekkoek's best chance of sticking with the Lightning, long-term is by beating out Braden Cobourn for what should be a top-4 role. Anything less could be considered a bust for the Lightning, at which point they could attempt to recoup assets for him. Brayden Olafson
October 2017 – After an exciting 2-goal performance against the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the dust is beginning to settle with Koekkoek as Head Coach Jon Cooper continues to keep him glued to the bench, and more recently, to the press box. In the playing time that he has received, Koekkoek obviously hasn't demonstrated to the coaching staff that he is fully capable of providing what they're asking of him, and as such, has been limited to under 10 minutes of ice time per game, consistently. There's no lack of competition for Koekkoek on the blue line, but it appears that the Lightning prefer the experience of Andrei Sustr to fill their 7th defenseman slot, and the reliability of Braydon Coburn to eat up their tougher minutes. The limited exposure certainly won't have a positive effect on Koekkoek's confidence but he shouldn't be written off entirely. A change of scenery might be what is best for the former first-round pick as the pressure of stronger competition continues to build. – Brayden Olafson
July 2017 – Heading into 2017 training camp, Koekkoek will find himself thrust into the heat of some heavy competition as the Lightning defensive depth chart has seemingly engulfed him over the course of the past year. While Koekkoek has struggled to make much meaningful contributions at the NHL level, Steve Yzerman appears to be holding out hope that the 23-year-old will make the necessary adjustments to earn a spot in the Lightning crowded top-6, come fall. Koekkoek, who is now waiver-eligible, signed a one-year, one-way "audition" style contract with the Lightning that will allow the Lightning to stamp a firm verdict on the developing tenth-overall pick. If he fails to impress, the Lightning may be forced to move on from him and allow another prospect that opportunity. Brayden Olafson
June 2017 – Riding a significant high coming out of junior, Koekkoek was widely expected to hop on a fast-tracked development curve in the Lightning system, playing a year or two in the AHL, and then getting a legitimate shot with the big guys. After all, the Lightning thought highly enough to select him before Cody Ceci. To Koekkoek's credit, Griffin Reinhart and Derrick Pouliot have followed similar development paths, and were selected seven and three picks earlier, respectively. Upon completion of his third AHL season, however, Koekkoek has seemingly hit a wall in terms of offensive, and overall professional development. The Lightning may play a risky game this off-season by creating a whole in the NHL lineup for which to assign him, however, his leash will be relatively short, and if he falters, could see more time in NHL press boxes. Brayden Olafson
March 2017 – The combination of strong auditions from his peers, as well as sub-par auditions himself have served to slowly push Koekkoek down the Lightning's defense depth chart over the course of the last year. In a 29-game NHL stint that came to an end in January he failed to solidify his spot, opening the doors for the Lightning to cycle through other options, like Jake Dochin who's stronger performance has been bad news for Koekkoek. The competition isn't going to slow down with Libor Hajek also coming into the fold in Syracuse. Because of his insignificant offensive output combined with a disappointing progression for his pedigree, don't expect him to be fantasy relevant in the Lightning system any time soon. Brayden Olafson.
May 2016- Slater Koekkoek focused more on his defensive play this year with the Syracuse Crunch. His second season in the AHL, Koekkoek is a beautiful skater with skill at both ends of the ice which has earned his 12 games at the NHL level, as well as some postseason games. Koekkoek passes the puck well which can lead to great offensive zone setup and defensive zone breakouts. – Max Marko
October 2014 – After attending Tampa Bay's training camp, Koekkoek was assigned to Syracuse(AHL) where he's expected to play big minutes as a rookie pro. Randall Buschmann
May 2014 – Slater Koekkoek was named to the OHL's 1st All-Star Team joining Scott Laughton, Dane Fox, Connor Brown, Aaron Ekblad and Alex Nedeljkovic. Koekkoek had an outstanding season in Windsor but unfortunately, the two-way defender suffered a shoulder injury for the third straight season. Without the constant injuries, Koekkoek would likely be headed to the AHL to gain professional experience but because of his health and loss time, he could return back to Windsor for the 2014-15 season. Stay tuned. Brendan Ross
February 2014 – Koekkoek has emerged as one of the Ontario Hockey League's best defencemen and has been healthy all season. Koekkoek currently ranks third on Windsor in points and third in the league in points among all defencemen. He leads the entire league with a dazzling +40 plus/minus rating and is the only member of his team among the top 10 of the category. Most recently, he's recorded 16 points in the last 17 games which has helped him establish a career high. Expect Koekkoek to earn several accolades in the annual OHL coach's poll to be released sometime next month. Koekkoek placed just outside the top 10 in Dobber Prospect's ranking of the top 10 Tampa Bay prospects and could find his way on the list soon as he begins his professional career next season, likely in Syracuse. Randall Buschmann
November 2013 – Koekkoek entered his fourth (and final) season in the OHL with high expectations on a new team, the Windsor Spitfires. To date the often-injured defenseman has been healthy and through 17 games, not only leads Windsor in scoring among defensemen but also ranks 10th in the league at his position with four goals and 14 points. Koekkoek has the highest plus-minus rating on his team, sitting at plus-15 on the year, which ranks 8th in the OHL. Koekkoek is expected to be a key contributor for Team OHL at the upcoming Subway Super Series against Russia and then Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. Randy Buschmann
June 2013 – Koekkoek has developed a reputation as a band-aid boy already and hasn't even started his professional hockey career yet. Over the past two seasons, the recently turned 19 year old defenseman played only 68 games due to shoulder injuries. He finished the 2012-13 season with six goals, 28 points and a minus-28 rating in 40 games. It should be noted Koekkoek played top pairing minutes in all situations as the captain for Peterborough, one of the worst teams in the OHL last season. Koekkoek reportedly asked to be traded and his wish was granted as he'll play for Windsor next season, which will be his fourth season in the OHL. Tampa Bay signed Koekkoek to a three year entry-level contract in March, however, it's hard to imagine Koekkoek will be NHL-ready anytime soon due to the amount of games he's missed. He'll need to get stronger and stay healthy. If he can do both of those things his stock should skyrocket. Randy Buschmann
October 2012 – Slater Koekkoek was named to the 2012 Subway Super Series Team OHL Roster slated to compete in a six-game series versus the Russian National Junior Team in November. Brendan Ross
June 2012 – Stevie Yzerman makes a shrewd pick selected Slater Koekkoek 10th overall. Very high character and he owns some intriguing upside. Brendan Ross
March 2012 – In addition to having the coolest name among 2012 draft eligible prospects, the Peterborugh Petes’ Slater Koekkoek is a fantastic skater who possesses a hard, accurate shot and isn’t afraid to mix it up. Once touted as a top 10 pick, Koekkoek has slipped down mock draft boards due to a shoulder injury that forced him to miss half of the 2011-12 season. Still fairly lanky, the 18-year-old rearguard will play another OHL season or two, bulking up and working on his defensive zone play to prepare for the rigors of pro hockey. John Canario
Fantasy Outlook: B-
His puck-moving prowess and quick release could translate to offensive success at the NHL level.
Slater Koekkoek’s first OHL goal
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