Kosior setting sights on being a leader for the Raiders

Photo Courtesy of Keith Hershmiller/WHL Prince Albert Raiders blueliner Landon Kosior controls the puck during a game at the Brandt Centre last season.

Blueliner ranked by NHL Central Scouting for second straight year

A lot can change in the span of a couple of years in the world of major junior hockey.

After joining the Prince Albert Raiders ahead of the 2019-20 season following two campaigns in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League with the Tisdale Trojans, Landon Kosior will be entering this fall as one of the more experienced players on the team’s blueline.

“I hope I can be a leader for the team, help the guys out and hold people accountable,” Kosior said.

“The main goal for all of us is to keep the ‘Raider Way’ going. We’re still the defending WHL (Western Hockey League) champions and I believe that we can defend the title this year.”

The 18-year-old from Regina was able to suit up 21 times in his hometown this past season, but his friends and family weren’t able to see him play at the Brandt Centre as the Raiders competed in the East Division bubble.

“It was a little different for sure but I was just thankful that we could even have a season,” Kosior said. “All of us on the team were together 24/7 and that really allowed us to get to know each other and build up our chemistry much quicker than normal.

“We would have liked to have finished higher than fourth in the standings, but I think it was a good year overall.  It was important for the young guys to get a lot of opportunities this season and I think that will be huge for us going forward, as they got to learn what it takes to play at this level and us older guys got to know them better during our two months there.”

While Kosior was limited to just four goals during his sophomore campaign, the blueliner was slightly snakebitten in the offensive department as his 57 shots on goal were the 10th most by any blueliner in the WHL.

“It was a little frustrating at times but that’s how hockey goes sometimes,” said Kosior, who had five goals and 18 assists in 64 games during his rookie campaign with the Raiders. “All you can do is shake it off and focus on your next opportunity, but as long as the team is doing well, it doesn’t matter how things are going offensively.

“I was able to take on more minutes this year and I was a lot more physical out there in my second season, which was one of my goals coming into the season. I’m an older guy now on the team and I wanted to use my body a lot more out there.”

Prior to the start of the 2020-21 WHL campaign, Kosior suited up for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Melville Millionaires, where he had a goal and five assists in six games.

“That was huge for me as it gave me an opportunity to get back into game shape, get used to playing games again and also get back into the routine of the daily life of a junior hockey player,” Kosior said.

“It was awesome to have the opportunity to play in Melville as they have a great program there with (head coach and general manager) Mike Rooney in charge.”

Kosior’s play has earned recognition from NHL Central Scouting for the second straight year, as he’s ranked 168th among North American skaters for next weekend’s National Hockey League Draft.

He was ranked 98th among North American skaters a year ago and was considered by some scouting outlets to be a potential late round pick, but ended up not being selected.

“It was obviously disappointing but you can’t really dwell too much on it,” Kosior said.

“There’s a little chip on my shoulder from it and I can use that as motivation. I hope that I can make it to the NHL day, whether I’m drafted or not.”

Kosior is one of three Raiders players ranked by NHL Central Scouting for this year’s draft, with the others being blueliner Nolan Allan and goaltender Carter Serhyenko.