Victoria Royals’ 19-year-old defenceman Jordan Fransoo will be looked upon as a leader on the Royals’ back-end, as he enters his third season in the Western Hockey League. As he looks ahead to that role, he can’t help but look back at last season for inspiration, as he and his mates are less than a month away from the start of the 2012-13 campaign.

“The amount of goals that we had scored on us last season was, frankly, quite embarrassing. To be that far ahead in goals against was not something that our group was very happy with,” said Fransoo, speaking of the league-high 325 goals allowed by the Royals a season ago. “I know for myself, being a plus player, for sure, has got to happen for me. I talked with Tyler (Stahl) and we both feel the same way. We can be strong. We had a lot of young guys, but they are back now and this is their second year in, so everyone’s got to be accountable.”

Fransoo, along with forward Dakota Conroy, made their way to Victoria at the 2012 WHL trade deadline from the Brandon Wheat Kings. The seventh round pick of the Ottawa Senators in 2011 has 39 career points in 134 games in the WHL, including 11 points for Victoria in 30 games after his acquisition. But the offence comes second to defence for the product of North Battleford, Saskatchewan.

“I think you always have an idea in mind on where you want to be with points, penalty minutes and plus/minus. The most important one for me is plus/minus. I want to be +10-+20 this year, that’s got to be a given for me, especially with the players we have coming back this year,” said Fransoo. “Points will take care of themselves. Wherever I end up I end up, but that’s not my main focus.”

As one of the senior members of the Royals’ defence, leadership will be a role Fransoo expects to take on this season, with or without a letter on his jersey.

 “We still have a fairly young team, so I think that’s a good role for me,” said Fransoo. “I’ve been in the league for almost four years and have a pretty good idea of what’s going to build a winning team and what’s not. Definitely consistency and a can do attitude. We’ve got the players, we have the confidence and now we just have to show it. We have to go out and put our best foot forward every night.”

Like the rest of the squad, the Royals are going through a change behind the bench with Dave Lowry entering his first year as Head Coach. For Fransoo, Lowry will be the fourth bench boss he will play for since 2010, after Kelly McCrimmon and Cory Clouston in Brandon, and Marc Habscheid in the B.C. Capital in the back half of 2011-12. Change, though, is welcomed by Fransoo.

“I think it’s awesome from where we were last year, to be taking steps forward. New coach and GM (Cam Hope), they have no accountability to any of the players; they have no relationships that have been built yet. Everyone’s got a clean slate. For some guys that’s a huge benefit, for everybody really. They just have to come in and have an open mind and work your hardest.”

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