DALLAS — Christian Kyrou has the perfect role model for what he hopes will be a quick path to the NHL — his older brother, St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrou.
Christian, an 18-year-old defenseman chosen by the Dallas Stars in the second round (No. 50) of the 2022 NHL Draft, hopes watching and learning from what Jordan has gone through can help him along his path.
“I train with him every day and I skate with him every day, so I know what it’s like to be around pro players and elite hockey,” Christian said. “I feel like it helps me. If I can surround myself with pro players, I can become a pro quicker.”
Christian, 18, was fourth among Ontario Hockey League defensemen with 60 points (18 goals, 42 assists) in 68 games with Erie last season. He was voted the Most Underrated Player in the Western Conference in the OHL Coaches Poll at the end of the season.
“He’s super offensive, super smart,” Jordan told the Blues website. “I think he thinks the game a lot better than I do, really. He’s got a great shot, scored a lot of goals this year. He knows how to find his guys and he can score.”
One of the key aspects of Christian’s development will be setting realistic expectations, similar to how the Blues slowly brought Jordan along.
St. Louis selected him in the second round (No. 35) of the 2016 NHL Draft, but he did not become an NHL regular until the 2020-21 season. Then last season, his fourth with the Blues, he had an NHL-career best 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists) in 74 games last season, and the 24-year-old played in the NHL All-Star Game for the first time time.
“The big thing you have to know is everyone’s different,” said Neil Graham, coach of Texas of the American Hockey League who worked with Christian at Stars development camp in July. “But having the family member, having relatives that have gone through that, there’s usually some pretty good dialogue that can probably help you not only on the good days but the days where you do feel stuck, the days where you do feel like you” re having a down moment.
“Typically that’ll push you out of those down days quicker having that network that has done it before.”
Christian will attend Stars training camp, which opens Sept. 21. While there, he hopes to learn what Stars veterans like forwards Jamie Benn and Joe Pavelski and defenseman Miro Heiskanen do on and off the ice to get ready to play in the NHL. He hopes to take that training camp experience back with him to Erie to improve on and off the ice.
“He’s a good skater, he’s agile, he can move quite well,” Graham said. “Now I think it’s going to be quite fun to watch him develop over the next couple of seasons.”
Christian is excited to make the journey, with the hope of eventually reaching the same destination as his brother.
“For me right now, I know what it takes to play in the NHL and what I have to develop,” he said. “I feel like once I develop those things I’ll be ready for the NHL. Everyone has their own process, their own careers. So however long it takes me to be ready, we’ll go from there.”