ARLINGTON, V.A. — Defenseman Dru Krebs wears a smile as he walks over following Day 2 of Washington Capitals rookie camp. Soft-spoken and modest, he reflects on his journey so far — a childhood dream that’s becoming a reality.
Krebs is attending his first NHL camp after a whirlwind summer and continued development amid a global pandemic. His calm collected demeanor off-ice is far different from his play at camp, which so far has been, physical, fast-paced and overall, prominent. To give an example: his day started off with 1-on-1 battles, where he threw a major check on Connor McMichael.
“It’s really cool,” Krebs said. “…Throughout my entire life, I’ve looked up to playing at this level, and to actually be here, it’s amazing.”
Krebs was born into a tight-knit hockey family and grew up in the Okotoks, Alberta, the largest town in the province. His mother, Cindy, was a figure skater, and his father Greg was a hockey player himself. Dru is the youngest of four siblings, all of who didn’t shy away from pursuing their aspirations.
He has two brothers: Vegas Golden Knights prospect Peyton and University of Calgary and former Calgary Hitmen d-man Dakota. His older sister, Maddison, brought country music into the family and is currently a singer-songwriter in Nashville. The 18-year-old credits his parents for encouraging them to chase their goals.
“I think a lot of people have experienced [that bond] in Canada, especially when you have every single brother playing. Just a lot of rink days, eight-hour days. I think it was a really competitive atmosphere for me and my brothers to just do our best and my parents really pushed forward for us. It was really amazing for us to make it this far with each of our accomplishments… it was just a lot of rinks, rinks, rinks growing up.”
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Krebs’ biggest asset is his skating ability. He did a lot of power skating growing up, but also believes his skill was also a result of good genes.
“I think it’s kind of the natural generics of good skating,” Krebs noted. “I think that’s a big thing, but it just kind of happened naturally for the most part.”
His skating ability allows him to stack up well with his opponents and transition quickly and has also turned him into an efficient puck carrier and solid passer.
Krebs worked his way up the ranks and now skates with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. He admitted that COVID-19 presented an obstacle and that he had to find new ways to develop while quarantining at home. However, the 5-foot-11, 181-pound blueliner continued working toward his goal, training off-ice, picking up some new hobbies and mountain biking.
“I think it was a big challenge for sure, but I kinda [found] ways to make the most of it. At that time, I really tried to put on as much strength as possible. I still need to put on a lot more strength, but I think I made big steps forward with that and I was still training,” Krebs explained. “All my brothers came home, so I had some extra family time, and I was able to train with them as well. Those were key aspects of that whole COVID experience, but as much as [the pandemic] was terrible, it was good in some parts.”
Getting back on the ice last season, he impressed with 11 assists in 23 games. His skillset and play matched exactly what Washington was looking for late in a defense-focused draft for the team. As a result, the Capitals selected him 151st overall in the sixth round.
“I think it was extremely special, being surrounded by family at that moment and seeing how happy they were for me and being equally as happy myself to be called by such an amazing organization,” Krebs said. “It was just an awesome experience altogether and a dream come true.”
Overall, the 18-year-old is making the most of his first time in D.C. A self-proclaimed history buff, he’s been able to explore the city and truly immerse himself in the experience. He hopes he can continue to gain muscle and add to his game going forward and believes rookie camp is the perfect starting point on his road to the ultimate goal: stepping onto NHL ice.