PLAY­ING WITH CON­FI­DENCE

Josh Cur­rie signs two-year con­tract with AHL’s Bak­ers­field Con­dors

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JA­SON MAL­LOY

Josh Cur­rie has been given the sta­bil­ity of a two-year AHL con­tract, but knows there is work to do to get to the next level.

The Bak­ers­field Con­dors an­nounced on Thurs­day they had agreed to terms with the 24-year-old Char­lot­te­town na­tive. He has played the past two sea­sons with the Con­dors, the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers farm club.

“It gives you job se­cu­rity and in hockey that’s a big thing,’’ Cur­rie said. “It’s great to have a two-year Amer­i­can league deal, but ob­vi­ously the goal is to make it to the NHL and earn an NHL con­tract.

“So ev­ery­day I am still try­ing to work to­wards earn­ing that, but it’s def­i­nitely great know­ing I have sta­bil­ity in Bak­ers­field for two years.”

The last cap­tain in the P.E.I. Rocket his­tory draws some com­par­isons be­tween his ju­nior and pro ca­reers.

Cur­rie re­ally came into his own dur­ing his third of four ju­nior sea­sons with the Rocket when given more of an of­fen­sive role by coach Gordie

Dwyer. He has played for for­mer UPEI Pan­ther and Ar­mour Fence Is­lan­der Gerry Flem­ing the past two sea­sons and has been given an op­por­tu­nity to shine.

“I was put in more of an of­fen­sive (role) and I was trusted more by the coach­ing staff,’’ Cur­rie said. “In hockey, once you have con­fi­dence, you feel like you can do any­thing out there.”

The five-foot-11, 190-pound cen­tre had 22 goals and 14 as­sists for 36 points in 67 games last sea­son. He tied for the team lead with six game-win­ning goals and led the squad with 156 shots.

Flem­ing said Cur­rie has made a strong im­pres­sion on the new man­age­ment team

dur­ing the past two sea­sons.

“He’s opened a lot of eyes to the type of player and the type of per­son he is, so it’s a wellde­served con­tract,’’ he said. “It keeps him in the or­ga­ni­za­tion, keeps him part of the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers fam­ily and we’re re­ally happy to have him back.”

And while he in­creased his of­fen­sive out­put, he was still a key on the penalty kill and trusted late in games de­fen­sively, which have been trade­marks of his game for years.

“His play away from the puck, on the penalty kill, his face­offs, his de­fen­sive player, he’s got­ten bet­ter and bet­ter from year to year, from month to month and from shift to shift,’’ Flem­ing said.

Cur­rie said he has a good re­la­tion­ship with the Con­dors coach­ing staff, which are re­turn­ing for 2017-18, and that helped in de­cid­ing where he wanted to play next sea­son as he works to make it to the NHL.

“I def­i­nitely feel like there’s tons of op­por­tu­nity for me to get a lot of good looks in Bak­ers­field that’s go­ing to ul­ti­mately, hope­fully, help me get me to the next level,” he said. “I def­i­nitely feel like this is the best place for me.”

Cur­rie is home for the sum­mer. He will work out with Matt Bren­ton, di­rec­tor of sport con­di­tion­ing at Andrews Hockey Growth Pro­grams, to get stronger and quicker for the up­com­ing sea­son.

Josh Cur­rie has signed a two-year AHL con­tract after his best pro sea­son.

BAK­ERS­FIELD CON­DORS/SPE­CIAL TO THE GUARDIAN

Char­lot­te­town na­tive Josh Cur­rie cel­e­brates a goal dur­ing the 2016-17 AHL sea­son.

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