By Don Stewart
READING, Pa. – Dan Rudisuela‘s start in hockey was typical of most Canadian kids: He was in skates by age 4.
“It’s what I’ve been thinking about and dreaming about ever since,” he said.
He has big-time potential, but the first thing people tend to notice about Rudisuela is what isn’t there to notice. Standing just 5-7, he’s had to hear all about how he’s too small to go anywhere in hockey.
Rudisuela has listened. Fortunately for the Reading Royals, he’s only used those doubts as motivation.
Entering Saturday’s game against Cincinnati, the Ontario-born mighty mite had 34 points in 59 contests. He’s been particularly impressive of late, having scored 10 goals and 19 points while skating to a plus-5 over his last 16 games.
After a slow start, the energetic winger has capitalized on increased minutes. He’s worked his way to the team’s first line and been a key contributor on the power play and penalty kill.
“Combination of linemates, combination of confidence, and a combination of getting ice time,” Royals coach Larry Courville said. “He’s been put in some situations to make him successful, power play and penalty kill, where he’s helped us out a lot. He’s done well.”
Finally producing like a legit Toronto prospect, Rudisuela is getting some consideration for team most valuable player honors. Despite his sub-par numbers early on, he deserves to be in the discussion.
“It wasn’t ideal,” Rudisuela said his tepid beginning. “It was tough. Frustration, you don’t want to waste your energy on that, but it’s definitely tough when you know you can be better.”