Diminutive defenceman aiming for huge season

St. Michael's first-year rearguard Marcel Fatovic is looking to improve and impress

Marcel Fatovic lines up for a draw in the St. Michael's Buzzers' season opener  Matt Tidcombe/Toronto Observer

Marcel Fatovic is coming to a rebuilding St. Michael’s Buzzers club looking for a fresh start and a college commitment by the end of the season.

The second-year Ontario Junior Hockey League defenceman was recently picked up by the Buzzers from the Oakville Blades.

Even though the Oakville native is leaving his home squad, he believes the St. Michael’s organization is perfect for his development and is a place where he can be noticed by collegiate recruiters.

“I love it so far. They really know how to take care of their players,” said Fatovic. “My teammates are great and I am excited to start fresh.”

The OJHL always has many league graduates go on to play U.S. college hockey, but St. Michael’s boasts some impressive alumni.

Anaheim Ducks centre Andrew Cogliano played two seasons for the Buzzers from 2003-2005, then spent two seasons with the University of Michigan after he was drafted in the first round, 25th overall, in 2005 by the Edmonton Oilers.

Boston Bruins winger Reilly Smith was a member of the Buzzers from 2007-2009. He went on to play three seasons with Miami University in Ohio, after being drafted 69th overall by the Dallas Stars in 2009.

Fatovic plays an offensive game, something he takes a lot of pride in. The 5-10, 180-pound rearguard even compares himself to Smith’s current Bruins teammate Torey Krug, a 5-9, 180-pound defenceman who collected 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in his rookie season with Boston.

“Krug has a great shot, and I like to use mine quite a bit,” said Fatovic, who put up 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in 48 games with the Blades last season. “I like to be offensive as that is my type of game.”

Fatovic’s coaches like the offensive punch he can bring, a big reason why he was brought over. Like most offensive defencemen, there is still some work to be done in his own zone.

“We expect him to be an offensive type player,” said Buzzers assistant coach Vic Criscuolo. “He has a great shot from the point. He has some work to do on the back end and that is something we will work on over the course of the year.

“We expect him to put up some numbers but our priority is worrying about our end first. We want to turn him into a well-rounded defenceman.”

Fatovic has been paired with Buzzers captain Ian Edmondson, more of a stay-at-home defender, now in his fifth year with the club. Edmondson’s style of play compliments Fatovic’s well as they continue to find chemistry.

“We started the week together in practice and it’s been good so far,” said Fatovic. “It’s been great playing with him as I can really rely on him, he makes my game a lot easier and he’s always there to cover for me when I go up in the rush.”

The 18-year old was also drafted by the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League in the 11th round, 218th overall in 2012. The Colts have developed many highly regarded players on the backend, such as St. Louis Blues defenceman and Team Canada Olympian Alex Pietrangelo, and Florida Panthers 2014 first overall pick Aaron Ekblad.

“Last year I got to try out for Barrie and be around Ekblad,” said Fatovic. “He’s amazing, a terrific all-around defenceman and I wish him luck next year. His main advice for me was to shoot the puck whenever I can.”

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By: Jed Bick
Posted: Sep 9 2014 9:12 pm
Filed under: Hockey Local Sports Sports