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Kyle Bigos - #23 in Copper & Blue's Top 25 Under 25

Though it took three years, Kyle Bigos finally broke into our Top 25. The big man with the big shot moved up eleven spots in our rankings, the third-largest jump behind Martin Gernat and our #19 player.

Bigos' Merrimack Warriors are 13-5-5 (9-4-3 in Hockey East) and are ranked #10 in the NCAA Pairwise rankings. Bigos will again get a chance to play in the NCAA playoff tournament and will likely move to the professional game when Merrimack's run is over, which could be as early as the last week in March. Given the Oilers spot in the standings, their current plague of injuries, and what will likely be a final push to the Calder Cup Playoffs by the Barons, there's a possibility that Bigos will make his debut in the NHL in late March.

Is the 6'5" 230 pound giant deserving of the ranking, or is this a case of promotion by attrition? Or, have we finally shaken our future bias and realize Bigos is so close to the professional game?

Rank Player DOB Drafted Year Ben
Jon Ryan Scott
23 Kyle Bigos
99 2009
22 27

Previous Rank: 34

Prior to this update, our group has been consistent in ranking Bigos: 30-29-31-34. Both Ben and I moved Bigos up ten spots, Bruce moved him up five, Scott four and even Jon, the most pessimistic among us, moved him up a spot.

Jonathan's primary objection is age:

I like Bigos, but I'm definitely concerned about his age. He was drafted as an overage player, and he's the same age as Alex Plante and he has yet to play a professional game. Maybe he hits the ground running, but he absolutely should be doing a number on college players, given his size and his age. The real test will be when he turns pro.

He's right. Bigos will turn 23 in May. To put that in perspective, Bigos is just 17 months younger than Jeff Petry who is already a regular bottom-pairing defenseman in the NHL and is close to becoming a regular top four performer. But I'm not counting on Bigos for top four minutes any time soon. I am however, counting on him to play bottom-pairing minutes in the NHL and possibly for a very long time.

Both size and toughness come through in Bigos' penalty minutes. Over the last three seasons, Bigos has spent a Peckham-like amount of time in the penalty box:

2009-10 36 94 2.61
2010-11 33 127 3.84
2011-12 21 72 3.42

Those numbers include seven major penalties. In a league without fighting, seven majors in three seasons is noteworthy.

But he's not just a meathead bent on total in-zone annihilation. He plays in all situations and on the top pairing. And he's not bashful about unleashing his shot.

2009-10 36 62 1.72
2010-11 33 59 1.78
2011-12 21 48 2.28

Bigos is enormous, but not limited by lack of footspeed. He's a menace in the defensive zone, and he's able to make stretch passes in Merrimack's breakout. He takes a boatload of penalties, but he's got the ever-important crust and he's willing to both protect and stick up for his teammates.

Size and strength alone will keep him in the pro game for a very long time. If scouting reports are accurate and he's got enough game to go along with the size, Bigos is going to be a fixture in the NHL for a very long time.