By Thomas Harrington
After being drafted by Anaheim in the third round of the draft last year, Deven Sideroff completed his second full year of junior hockey this past season. He was selected only a few spots after the Ducks had taken Brent Gates, Jr.
Sideroff missed the beginning of last season with a virus, but when he returned to health, he was a force to be reckoned with for the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL. He was also one of Kamloops’ alternate captains last season. Despite appearing in one less game than the year before, Sideroff set career highs across the board with 19 goals and 59 points in 63 games. He finished fifth on the team in goals, third in points, and second in assists. He saw time on both the powerplay and penalty kill units and led the team with nine powerplay goals. Sideroff saw a lot of time on Kamloops’ top line and was one of the primary reasons why they made the playoffs, although the team ended up losing in seven games in the first round. Sideroff didn’t have a great playoff run, as he only managed three assists in those seven games.
After his junior season ended, the San Diego Gulls signed him to a tryout agreement. Despite being ineligible to play in the AHL on a full-time basis (he won’t be 20 until next April), junior players are allowed to appear in the AHL at the conclusion of their junior seasons, even if they have to return to junior hockey the next season, as is the case with Sideroff. He appeared in only one regular-season game for San Diego and recorded three shots and no points.
This coming season, I’d like to see Sideroff continue his strong offensive production in the WHL. If he can hit those 20 goals and 60 points marks, that would be a good first step. Staying on the top line and being one of the scoring leaders for Kamloops is another priority for him. Sideroff also has a chance at making the Team USA World Junior Championship team. Final rosters won’t be named until shortly before the tournament, but it would be great if he could make it in his final year of eligibility. Finally, if Sideroff’s season ends earlier than he’d like it to, he’ll most likely join the Gulls again for the end of their season. If Sideroff does see time in the AHL next season, I’d like to see him get in a few more games and put up a few points with his future team.
Sideroff is more of a playmaking winger, but when he has the puck in the slot, he’s not going to pass up an opportunity to put a shot on net. He likely won’t ever be a top line player, but he’s got a solid work ethic, doesn’t give up on the play and could fit in nicely as a team’s second or third line scoring winger.
The Ducks signed Sideroff to a three-year entry-level deal at the beginning of August. Unless he makes Anaheim’s roster and plays in 10 or more NHL games this year, which is unlikely, the ELC will not begin until Sideroff turns pro, likely in a year’s time. However, if Sideroff comes in and has a great camp, the Ducks could consider giving him a bit of an NHL tryout. Even if that happens, I still think he’s returned to juniors before he hits the 10 game mark and burns the first year of his entry-level deal. When his ELC is up, Sideroff will be a restricted free agent. It’s impossible to know how he will progress over the next several years, but I think it likely he gets re-upped when his new deal expires.
With at least one more year of juniors ahead of him, it’s going to be a few years before fans in Anaheim can look forward to seeing him on the ice in the NHL. It’s possible he gets a bit of a look at the start of the season, but again, I think it’s much more likely he goes back to the WHL and stays there for the entire season. Assuming he doesn’t return to the WHL for an overage season, he’ll likely be suiting up for San Diego in a year’s time. I expect him to spend a year or two with the Gulls before getting a real chance in the NHL. Injuries could always bring him up sooner, or delay his development, but I think we’ll see Sideroff NHL bound in about three years or so.
My next prospect update will be on Marcus Pettersson.
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