From start to finish, Brett O’Malley was Brett O’Malley — a defensive-minded forward, asked to kill penalties and score when needed. For the most part, he did just that. His final stats weren’t much to bat an eye at — eight goals, eight assists in 62 games — but O’Malley continued to give Karl Taylor a reason to plug him into the lineup.
The 27-year-old rookie said there are more parts of his game than just defense. Whether or not he’ll get that chance depends on an important non-hockey factor. Here’s what O’Malley had to say after his final meeting with Taylor on Tuesday:
How do you evaluate your season?
It went as expected. Karl wasn’t too concerned with anything. He said I lived up to his expectations. There were no surprises throughout the year. It was short and quick, kind of what I expected going into it. It went good. … Personally I think it went well. I’m a first time pro hockey player, so I just took everything in stride. There were bumps in the road, I got moved up, moved down, but I kind of fit in to a defensive kind of role. That’s what I do most of the time. I fit into a defensive style of play and stuck with it most of the year.
Is that the type of player you think you’ll always be at this level?
I don’t think you saw most of my offensive ability. I do have some. I led the University (of Calgary) in (goal) scoring one year (2007-08). I can score goals, I think this year was just more of a stepping stone to get into the league, not try to do stuff that I’m not ready for yet. If I came back here with more confidence and experience, I know I could score more goals and be more of an offensive player.
How did the adjustment to playing in California go for you?
For me it was an easy stepping stone. I’m an older rookie (27). I’m more mature. We had a young team this year, so it could have been more of an adaptation for them, to get used to the climate. I don’t let things away from the rink affect my on-ice actions. For me, I liked it, I enjoyed coming to the rink in plus-30 (Celsius) weather, 90 degrees, whatever.
Where do you see yourself next year?
I don’t know yet. I’m getting married this summer. Obviously I can’t think for myself now – my wife will be part of the thought process – so I haven’t made any decisions yet. I’m not committing to anything now. We’ll see. She came down a couple times. She visited once or twice. She liked it. She has a good job, she’s an engineer. She has a good job in Calgary. I don’t think she can work when she gets here unless she gets a work visa. We’ll have to see how that goes, too.