The 2022 NHL Draft will be held at the Bell Center in Montreal from July 7-8. NHL.com is counting down to the draft with profiles and other resources. Today, a look at center Paul Ludwinski with Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League. Full coverage of the NHL.com draft can be found here.
TORONTO — Paul Ludwinski it’s ultra competitive. Whether on ice, in the classroom or even holding a Rubik’s Cube, he’s driven to be the best.
While many people his age are found playing video games in their spare time, the 18-year-old center, in his first season in the OHL with the Kingston Frontenacs, can often be found playing with a Rubik’s Cube, a hobby he picked up in college. primary school.
“We would go to basketball tournaments when I played junior basketball in elementary school and between our games we would try to solve one and compete who is faster,” Ludwinski said. “Once you sort it out, it’s honestly hard to forget. It’s just patterns over and over again. It doesn’t seem like it, but honestly it’s not that hard once you get the hang of it.”
His record is 53 seconds.
Video: Ludwinski solves the Rubik’s Cube in under a minute
Ludwinski (5 ft-11, 176 lbs), number 49 on the NHL Central Scouting final North American skater rankings, prides himself on being a versatile player capable of being used in all situations.
“Watching (Downtown Boston Bruins) Patrice Bergeron, guys like him make money playing the right way and playing a 200 foot game,” Ludwinski said. “That’s how players should be; you can’t just be offensive, you have to be a guy on both ends of the ice.
“I’m a 200-foot player. I’m dangerous in the offensive zone and hard to contain, but in the D zone, I’m responsible and I don’t let too many goals against me so I can be put in any situation and I’m a reliable player, so in any In any situation where I am placed on any line, I will bring energy to the game and play to the best of my ability.”
Luca Caputi, Ludwinski’s coach with Kingston, called him one of the most trainable players he ever had. He gained Caputi’s trust in high-leverage situations, including death penalties and when defending a one-goal lead in 5v6 scenarios.
“Paul is an extremely competitive young man, he sees the ice well and has elite skating skill as well as the ability to use it on other teams just because he has this competitive edge and skating prowess that is hard to find in young men” , said Caputi. said. “He has been a breath of fresh air for many people around here and a child who will carry the torch in the future for us.”
Ludwinski, who played lacrosse from age 10 to 16 and still picks up his lacrosse stick to warm up before games, had 43 points (16 goals, 27 assists) in 67 games and 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 11 games. playoffs in his rookie season in the OHL.
He missed the 2020-21 season due to the OHL being canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but he spent as much time as he could in the Rouge River between Port Huron and Pickering, Ontario, playing shinny, sharpening his hands and working out in the basement.
“I have a rug downstairs that I’m going to hold in the basement and just work on my hands,” Ludwinski said. “I used to have a hammock, but I destroyed this thing.”
Prior to this season, Ludwinski last played in 2019-20 when he scored 32 points (15 goals, 16 assists) and captained the Toronto Marlboros in the Greater Toronto Hockey League, which led to him being selected 5th in the 2020 National Team. OHL priority by Kingston. Being in charge of the captaincy was a role he did not take lightly.
“Just knowing I was the guy on the team if anyone needed anything or the guy to look up to, was a great feeling,” Ludwinski said. “The guys were coming from Double-A, not to say they weren’t great players, but they didn’t have the experience that some of us had playing on such a good team for seven years. Just teaching them the right way and always staying positive. and never getting frustrated, that’s probably the biggest part of my leadership. I love that aspect. It just shows your character, that you’re not just there to play games, but that you’re a good person and you can make other people feel good. welcome too.”
Consistently maintaining an average above 85, Ludwinski, the son of a nurse who saw his mother go through two very difficult years while working during the pandemic, has aspirations when his playing career is over. He wants to become a doctor.
“It’s been difficult for her,” Ludwinski said. “She’s a hard worker. We think we’re working hard, but they’re working 10 times harder than we are.
“My mom really pushed me down that path (of wanting to become a doctor). Since I was young, I’ve loved math and science. Plus, they’re my two favorite subjects. [physical education]. I’ve always looked forward to these subjects and seeing my mom succeed after immigrating to Canada, she got and got her degree, which is a huge inspiration.”
Photo credits: Eric Schwar, Kingston (OHL)