Destry Straight won a National Championship with the Boston College Eagles in 2011-12. The freshman forward from West Vancouver, British Columbia playing a variety of roles for the dominant Eagles. The big, rangy center started off in a checking role, but by the end of the season he was skating on the top line with Chicago Blackhawks draft pick Kevin Hayes and New York Ranger Chris Kreider.
Straight is an intriguing prospect – he is adding size to his 6-1 frame, and he sees the ice very well. I sat down to chat with him about last season, his offseason training, playing with Kreider, and what he expects out of himself as he returns to Boston College for his sophomore campaign in 2012-13.
Angus: You chose to go to college over the major junior route. What went into that decision? I imagine you had offers to play in the WHL.
As soon as I committed to go to the BCHL I had decided that I was going to go to college. I had some interest from WHL teams, but I had already made my mind up to go the college route.
When were you approached by Boston College?
Boston College got in touch with me pretty late. I talked to a lot of other schools before, and they were one of the last ones to reach out. They were always high on my list, though.
You weren’t planning on playing just one year in the BCHL; you thought it would be more of a two or three year process. What was the reason for jumping to college after just one year?
I thought I was going to play at least two years in the BCHL. Coquitlam’s coach, John Calvano, was someone that I was familiar with. We knew each other and he gave me a lot of opportunity. I had a really good first half and first year, and had offers to go to college for the year after and didn’t see reasons to stick around.
How did you find the transition to college?
A lot older, bigger, and stronger, the things you would expect. Nothing out of the ordinary.
You aren’t going into the same role as you start off at Boston College, though.
No, definitely not starting out. I played all sorts of roles but obviously not what I was playing in Coquitlam.
As the season went along, you moved up to the top line along with Kreider and Hayes. Did you make any changes to your game to suit them?
I think most of it was just confidence. And therefore I was able to play well with better players. Pretty much it was all confidence for me.
When Kreider turned pro and joined the Rangers in the postseason, were you surprised by how quickly he transitioned to the NHL game?
Not really. He was so big and strong, he was definitely ready physically for the NHL.
Was he the best guy you played with or against last year?
Yea for sure, overall. Maybe not the most skilled, but definitely he was the fastest player I have played with.
Who were some of the other good players you played against in college? Anyone jump out?
There are a lot of good players and teams. Nick Bjugstad for Minnesota was really good, a big strong guy. We played against a lot of good guys, but he stuck out a bit.
Has your training changed this summer compared to past years?
It is a lot more than it used to be. I didn’t used to train nearly this much. I used to spend more time up at my cabin in past years.
Do you have a program from Boston, or do you work with your trainers here on that?
They give me a program from Boston, and also what my trainers give me. A mix of both integrated together.
You are placing a large emphasis on nutrition I imagine, especially with trying to put size on. What change have you made with nutrition over the past couple years?
They just told me I need to put on 10 to 15 pounds. I’m not a big eater, so it was more just eating 3-4 meals a day and protein shakes and snacks. Once I focused on that, it wasn’t too bad.
Did the time you get to train in the gym in college help?
We play two games on the weekend, and we lift 2-3 times per week. Last season I put on 10 pounds during the season.
That’s impressive. What kind of workouts do you do there?
Strength focused. Almost football-type of workouts. Lots of benching, squats, and cleans. The Rangers didn’t even want Kreider working out last year because he was so big already.
What do you see yourself playing at?
I’d say 195-200 pounds. I’ve never been told what a good weight would be. That’s what I’d guess.
Who would you compare yourself to, or someone you like to watch in the NHL?
I’m a playmaker, and that is the strength of my game. Someone like Joe Thornton – a big center who sees the ice well.
Is the plan to play the full four years with the Eagles?
I think all along that has been the plan. When I chose to go to Boston College, four years was the plan, and I love it there.
Next year you will be playing a bigger role with Kreider turning pro. How many other forwards have moved on?
Three or four forwards are leaving, forwards who played all the games last season. Definitely an opportunity to move up in the lineup.
You also played growing up with Morgan Rielly (Toronto’s 2012 1st round pick) and Griffin Reinhardt (Long Island’s 2012 1st round pick). What was that like?
I played with them all my life, and I am still good friends with both of them. We had some good teams growing up.
Straight scores a nice goal at the 14 second mark:
This inteview was originally published on Angus Certified, my personal blog.