The Cleveland Monsters made their best move of the summer by bringing back Miles Koules for the 2018-19 season.
At the end of last season, he was fifth on the team in assists, third on the team in points (27, behind the Broadhurst brothers), and tied for second in goals with Terry Broadhurst (13).
Here is what Koules will bring to the table this coming season.
Patience, Trust, and Learns on the Fly
Three skills which Koules brings to the table are highlighted in the above clip. The first skill being the ability to learn on the fly. In the plays leading up to this goal, Koules intensely watched Juuse Saros, the Milwaukee Admiral’s netminder, from the bench. Multiple Monsters found themselves in the same placement as Koules in the above clip. They ended up going toe-to-toe with Saros and firing off a point-blank shot towards his five-hole only to have their shot blocked. When Koules found himself in the same situation, he didn’t go for the five-hole. Knowing Thurkauf was nearby, Koules waited to see if his teammate would be able to get into position before passing the puck his way.
How many times have we seen a player make the same mistakes over and over again? Koules could have taken the point-blank shot and hoped for the best. Who knows, maybe he would have been the lucky one to get the puck through Saros’ five-hole. However, Koules chose to take a different route and learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before him.
The next two skills highlighted in this clip are patience and trust. Koules patiently waited for Thurkauf to get to the opening near the crease. If you take a moment to watch the clip again, you’ll notice Koules spreads his legs to slow down and give Thurkauf a chance to get to his spot. Also note, Koules makes eye contact with Saros while passing the puck. In this moment, Koules trusted Thurkauf so much he didn’t even look when passing the puck. He knew his teammate would be there to slam the puck home for the goal.
Uncanny Ability to be in the Right Place at the Right Time
Koules seems to have a sixth sense about where the puck is going to end up on the ice. He just always seems to be right where he needs to be to score a goal or break up a play.
Never Stops Working
Koules never stops working. If the ref hasn’t blown the play dead, he is still grinding the play out. The proof is in the clip below.
When a player is in the thick of the game they can’t always tell whether the puck went into the net or dinged off the post. Some players will wait for the whistle or the scramble in front of the net to ensue before taking action. On the other hand, players like Koules will immediately descend upon the puck.
As you can see, Koules didn’t wait for a whistle to be blown or a scramble to ensue. Instead he hustled past Nelson Nogier, Manitoba Moose defenceman, and scooped up the rebound for the goal.
Did I Mention His Snipes Are a Thing of Beauty?
Celebrates His Teammates
It doesn’t matter if he’s on the ice, on the bench, or notching a point, Koules will go absolutely nuts when a teammate does something good.
His energy is infectious and can rally the troops within seconds.
Willingness to Teach
I wish I had a gif of these particular moments. These are the kind of intangibles you don’t see on television. Unless you’re paying attention to the ice during stoppages of play, you might not see them in the arena either.
Whether someone is a veteran or a rookie, Koules will take the time to go over plays with his teammates. When a player can’t figure out what they did wrong on the last play, Koules will break the whole play down for them. Step by step he guides them through the past play. If a teammate isn’t fully grasping what coach is saying, Koules will go the extra mile and demonstrate what coach is talking about.
It’s incredible to watch.
As of right now, Koules is the only forward in Cleveland on an AHL only contract. This is great for the Monsters. They need consistency and leadership to power them through this season. Last season was a bit bumpy. However, guys like Koules kept the team going.