DALLAS — Christian Kyrou has the perfect role model for what he hopes will be a fast track to the NHL — his older brother, the St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrou.
Christian, an 18-year-old defenseman selected by the Dallas Stars in the second round (No. 50) of the 2022 NHL Draft, hopes that watching and learning from what Jordan has gone through can help him along the way.
“I practice with him every day and I skate with him every day, so I know what it’s like to be around professional players and elite hockey,” Christian said. “I feel like it helps me. If I can surround myself with pro players, I can go pro faster.”
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’ end-of-season poll.
“He’s super offensive, super smart,” Jordan told the Blues’ website. “I think he thinks the game is a lot better than me, really. He’s got a great shot, he’s 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 Entry 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 made his first NHL All-Star Game . year.
“The big thing to know is that everybody is different,” said Neil Graham, the coach of Texas of the American Hockey League, who worked with Christian at the Stars’ development camp in July. “But having the family member, having relatives who have been through it, there’s usually some really good dialogue that can probably help you not only on the good days, but on the days when you feel stuck, the days when you feel like yourself.” you’re having a moment.
“Usually that will push you out faster than these days, having that network that has done it before.”
Christian will attend Stars training camp, which opens on September 21st. While there, he hopes to learn what the Stars’ veterans like Jamie Benn and Joe Pavelski and defender Miro Heiskanen do on and off the ice to get ready to play in the NHL. He hopes to take that training camp experience with him to Erie to improve on and off the ice.
“He’s a good skater, he’s agile, he can move pretty well,” Graham said. “Now I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch him develop over the next couple of seasons.”
Christian is excited to make the trip, hoping to eventually reach the same destination as his brother.
“For me right now, I know what it takes to play in the NHL and what I need to develop,” he said. “I feel like once I develop those things I’ll be ready for the NHL. Everybody has their own process, their own careers. So however long it takes for me to be ready, we’ll go from there.”