The Pipeline: A conversation with Jagger Firkus
Jagger Firkus has shown some growth to his game this past season for the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL and even added some offensive flare to his already well-rounded game.
Firkus recently shot up to No. 34 in FCHockey’s Winter ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft, a rise of 66 spots in just a couple of months.
“It’s been a good start to the season, I’m happy for myself just from all the hard work in the summer,” Firkus told Guy Flaming of The Pipeline Show. “So, I’m happy that it’s starting to show here. So, I guess the people that realize that and do work hard in those situations will show. And I think I did that, and I think I’m happy with how it’s going right now.”
As a 14-year-old, Firkus led his AAA U15 team with 65 points (33 goals, 32 assists) in 30 games playing with the Lloydminster Bobcats in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League. The following year he put up 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) in 30 games at U18 level, again leading the team in points. He even got a call up to play with the Moose Jaw Warriors the same season, where he posted two points in 12 games.
The offensive capabilities have always been there, but we didn’t really get to see them when he played last year for Moose Jaw in the WHL hub, where he posted 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 23 games.
This year has been different.
Firkus putting up 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 23 games for Moose Jaw, ranking him second on the team in scoring.
Guy Flaming: To what do you attribute that big jump in production? Fourteen points in the WHL is great, but it’s got to a whole another level here early this year.
Jagger Firkus: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s just the confidence is huge here, especially if you’re having confidence going to games, then you’re confident to make those passes that maybe you weren’t making last year as a sixteen year old. So, this year I think my coaches have gave me a very good chance with just being myself and being creative, which is awesome and I think if we keep rolling from here we should be good.
Guy Flaming: How have you sort of evolved as a player here in the last two calendar years with extended time off between seasons because of COVID, maybe it’s extra time for training, things like that. How have you evolved as a hockey player?
Jagger Firkus: I think I’ve evolved quite a bit. You have a lot of time to yourself and you have a lot of time to work on your game.
Guy Flaming: How do you describe yourself as a player?
Jagger Firkus: I’m for sure offensive, good IQ, I can read a play and I have good vision to help my teammates out.
Guy Flaming: Do you see yourself more of a set up guy or the guy who pulls the trigger?
Jagger Firkus: It would be a set up guy, I think. I do like shooting the puck, but my linemate Brayden Yager has quite the shot, so it’s pretty easy to give him the puck and let him rip it.
Guy Flaming: How much is the draft on your mind this year? I know, when I talk to players, some of them will tell me that they don’t want to think about the draft cause it could be a distraction. Other guys tell me they look to see who’s got them ranked where and they kinda use that as motivation. What about for you?
Jagger Firkus: I try not to pay attention to it. It’s always still on the back of your mind, but I try not to pay attention to it cause whatever happens, happens and it’s not my decision. So, if it goes well then it’s good but if it doesn’t go well then I guess I just gotta keep working and making sure that some teams I guess regret it.
Guy Flaming: The WHL website lists you at 5-foot-10 and about 150-155 pounds. I don’t know how up to date that is, what are you at right now?
Jagger Firkus: Yup, I’m still 5-10, 155.
Guy Flaming: Size is something you’ve been able to overcome to get to this point and you’ll have to do so to get to the next level as well. Why is size not a disadvantage for you?
Jagger Firkus: I think it’s just hockey IQ and being able to read the play. I like being small. It’s better for getting in those tight areas, doing tight turns and that kind of stuff. You gotta think about it from a different perspective and make sure you’re getting chances.
Guy Flaming: With that in mind. Do you think size is maybe overrated?
Jagger Firkus: I would say that. But you could disagree because I’m a small guy, so most small guys would say that. I guess the NHL seems to be moving towards more skilled players and it doesn’t really matter about size I would think.
Guy Flaming: Patrick Kane is not the biggest guy in the world. So, is that a guy that you look at and say, you know what, he’s finding a way to get it done, I can be like that too?
Jagger Firkus: Yeah, absolutely. He’s a smaller guy as well, but I think the hockey IQ is there. He’s insanely smart. I guess you just gotta watch for him and as smaller guy as well, you just gotta pick things from your game and use them in mind.
Guy Flaming: What part of your game is underrated you think?
Jagger Firkus: My shot.
Guy Flaming: And is there an area of your game that you think you really actually need to focus and improve on before you get to the next level?
Jagger Firkus: It would be my muscle and weight. I want to gain weight this offseason and the season coming up. That would be the main thing.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.