The forward's return to the NHL is a dream come true
CALGARY, AB -- For pivot Krys Kolanos, the 2011-12 season has been a renaissance year.
After missing the entire 2010-11 campaign recovering from micro-fracture hip surgery, it was unclear what kind of impact the forward would have when the Heat signed the veteran to tryout agreement at the beginning of the season.
Kolanos went on tear to kick off the season and didn't look like he missed a game, let alone an entire year. He scored seven goals and 13 points in 13 games before the tryout agreement expired and his incredible debut with the Heat earned him an AHL contract.
The Calgary native continued to be an offensive force for Abbotsford and head coach Troy Ward leaned heavily on Kolanos for consistent production. Through 34 games this season, he has 18 goals and 40 points to his name. He is the Heat's leading scorer with a 10 point lead over Jon Rheault, who sits second in that regard. He is second only to Rheault in plus-minus ratings, who is a plus-nine through 36 games, with a plus-eight rating this year.
He was named to the AHL All-Star Western Conference team last month, registering an assist in the game.
Kolanos hard work and unwavering dedication has gotten a two-way contract with the Flames - something he is extraordinarily appreciative of.
"It's awesome to see it all come into fruition," he said. "I'm super grateful for the Flames management team and Troy Ward in Abbotsford for having that confidence in me and to give me that opportunity and let me run with it."
Flames general manager Jay Feaster lauded Kolano's work ethic after signing the centerman to the two-year deal.
"Krys has been one of our best players in Abbotsford and has done everything we’ve asked of him to earn this opportunity," said Feaster. "He has worked hard on being a responsible two-way player and we look forward to him contributing to our success at both ends of the ice."
Kolanos credits Ward for how his season has gone and couldn't say enough about the Abbotsford bench boss.
"He's been such an integral part," Kolanos stated. "Just a great mentor and I couldn't be more grateful to have him decide to bring into this situation, to show that I can get back to where I wanted to be. He's been a huge part - it's hard to even describe."
Kolanos was drafted in the first round (19th overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes. He has had stints with the Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild and has played for nine AHL teams. He has spent time in Europe, playing for Finland's SM-liiga, Germany's Krefeld Penguins, and Switzerland's Langnau.
In total, Kolanos has played 136 NHL games, amassing 20 goals and 41 points in that span.