London Free Press
Nobody is shocked Cole Tymkin is leading the London Knights in penalty minutes one month into the OHL season.
The rough-and-tumble forward didn’t realize it himself until a bunch of his teammates pointed it out to him in the dressing room this week.
His six goals and 13 points in 11 games have set the pace.
“They said it was surprising because you wouldn’t really expect it,” the 19-year-old said with a grin. “But it’s nice. I’m happy.
“It comes easier with the rest of the guys putting the puck in the net–like [Connor McMichael] and Billy [Moskal].
“Everyone’s been huge in stepping up.”
There are a combination of reasons why this has happened. The most obvious is Alex Formenton and Evan Bouchard still are in the NHL.
But Tymkin’s early success also is a product of an increased role, special teams’ time, the ability to create space for himself around the net, and, of course, his wealth of experience.
The coaching staff trusts him to make things happen.
“The longer you’re in the league, you aim to be a consistent player and there really isn’t any excuse why you shouldn’t be,” Tymkin said.
“You develop your game enough to know how other teams play their systems.
“We do a lot of video on it,” he noted. “You get used to things over three years.
“When you’re putting up points, you do feel more confident,” Tymkin conceded. “But I always try to play the same way and incorporate everyone in the line.
“Maybe I try something creative if I get the chance but I never try to do anything on my own,” he stressed.
“Involving everyone is a big part of it.”
There has been some deserved criticism of the Knights’ power play, which is starting to show some life after weeks of ineffectiveness.
Tymkin was cast into the spotlight during those struggles since his post is right in front of the opposition net.
There’s no one better for the job in Dale Hunter’s mind.
“He’s got no fear to go in front,” the London coach said. “He’ll battle and find loose pucks. He’ll find rebounds.
“You need no fear because guys are shooting one-timers and you have to stand in there,” Hunter added. “That’s where a lot of goals are scored.
“He’s been making nice plays, making good passes, protecting the puck well, and scoring for us.”
Right from the start of training camp, the Knights indicated Tymkin was a big part of this team.
“They wanted me to be a leader and I feel I’m showing it,” the Rainy River native said.
“I’m trying to have a bigger impact on each game. They expect that of me.”
There’s some personal resolve in his start, too. The free agent wasn’t invited to a pro camp this fall.
“It didn’t feel good,” Tymkin admitted. “I’m trying to work hard every day so I get an opportunity next year.
“I feel more mature–that’s a credit to the staff and my billets,” he added. “I know if you play well, you get noticed here.
“This is the spot to be if you want to go somewhere.”
Even if he truly believes his perch at the top of London’s points list will be short-lived.
“You look at [McMichael] and [Adam] Boqvist, they’ll take off, for sure,” Tymkin said with a laugh.
“I’m waiting for it. They’ll pass me.”
Editor’s note: This story was written before the Knights’ weekend games against the Ottawa 67s and Kingston Frontenacs.
Tymkin had a goal and an assist in the team’s 4-1 win over Kingston on Saturday, raising his team-leading points total to 15 in 13 games.