It is difficult not to notice a very large man with the word “big” in his name, but defenseman Kyle Bigos bears watching for more than that. The Upland, CA native has made visible progress in just ten games with the San Francisco Bulls. Head Coach Pat Curcio sees promise in him:
He’s come a long way, he’s still got a long way to go but I think that he’s working hard every day and that’s going to help, [bodes] well for him. I think that a good year down here will give him an opportunity to make the American League next year and then he can go from there.
From Bigos’ first games with the team, he stood out, and not only for being very tall. He was noticeable for playing a solid defensive game. He has since added a few tricks to his routine, like shooting a whole big lot from the blue line. As a result, he has a goal and an assist in his last two games.
Last July, the San Jose Sharks traded Lee Moffie to the Edmonton Oilers for Bigos. After training camp in San Jose and then Worcester, Bigos was assigned to the San Francisco Bulls.
Like many of the Bulls, Bigos is making the adjustment from college hockey to the professional game this season. It is a significant gap for Bigos to bridge, as Curcio explains:
I think … playing more games is the least of his concerns.The game is faster, the game is stronger, you’re playing against men instead of older teenagers. You can’t get away with the things you could get away with in college, that’s for sure. It’s night and day. The physicality of it, you’re not playing with a cage, there’s so much, there’s so much.
Bigos has noticed those differences:
It was frustrating at first. Not really as a young player but as a first year in pros, it’s a transition from college. [I] did my best, there were some bumps in the road. The organization, the coaches and players really help me along.
The most conspicuous addition to Bigos’ game since the start of the season is an increase in shots taken. The whole team is shooting more, so this improvement isn’t too surprising. But as a blue liner, his shots can make a big difference, especially for the power play. Bigos attributes the shots on net to an adjustment to his game in general:
Once you figure the position, you move your feet a little bit more, shoot quicker, you can find lanes, so better for me and the team.
Hockey’s Future said this about Bigos in his NCAA career:
Mean, nasty, and fierce in defense of his teammates. Bigos is a mountain of a man and knows how to use his size to his advantage. Speed and quickness are an issue as they are with many men of his size, however his solid positioning helps him compensate for both.
The positioning mentioned was evident even in early games with the Bulls. Either his speed has improved or Bigos is compensating even better, because you don’t see him on the wrong end of a lot of footraces.
Perhaps the next thing we’ll see is more of that mean, nasty fierceness. We saw some of it in Colorado on November 2, when he racked up 17 penalty minutes and a game misconduct. Since the Bulls lost that game 4-1, probably keeping the penalty minutes down is a better plan.
Curcio commented last Friday that while Bigos has some growing to do, he could be worth the wait:
Watching him tonight and watching him the last couple games, he’s getting better. And some… you know these scouts have been around 40 years, they don’t necessarily make mistakes. They see something, and we’re starting to see what they see…
Whatever the next Bigos thing is, Bulls fans should look forward to seeing it.