By Tom Harrington
Deven Sideroff completed his junior career this past season, setting career highs in several offensive categories. He joined the Gulls for the end of their regular season and played a few games in San Diego at the end of the season.
After scoring 19 goals and 59 points in the 2015-2016 season, Sideroff eclipsed those marks with 36 goals and 78 points this past season. His 36 goals and 42 assists were both second on the team, while his 78 points led the Kamloops Blazers. He saw a significant amount of time on both the powerplay and penalty kill units. For the second consecutive season, he scored nine powerplay goals, and also chipped in with a couple of shorthanded goals as well. His nine powerplay goals were second on the team. Sideroff also led the team with 10 game-winning goals and scored five of those in overtime. Sideroff was named the WHL player of the week back in December when he scored five goals and eight points in four games, including three of his 10 game-winning goals. In the playoffs, the Blazers fell to the Kelowna Rockets in six games in the first round; Sideroff finished the playoffs with just one assist.
After making his professional debut and playing one game with the Gulls in the 2015-2016 season, Sideroff joined San Diego when his junior career was finished. He played in three of the Gulls’ final four games of the season and registered his first career point, an assist, against Bakersfield in his second game of the season. He did not make it into any of San Diego’s playoff games.
A year ago, I said that I wanted to see Sideroff hit the 20 goal and 60 point marks and be one of Kamloops’ leading scorers. Well, he did all I asked and more. He scored over 30 goals and nearly hit the 80 point mark while leading the team in scoring. He became the team’s go to scoring threat as the season progressed. He had an extended scoreless streak of four games early in the season but never went longer than two games without a point for the rest of the year. His longest scoring streak of the season was eight games, and he collected 12 points during that streak. Sideroff’s progress in his final season of juniors is a great sign of things to come from him.
This coming season, Sideroff will be a full-time AHL player. After a great finish to his junior career, Sideroff is going to need to carry that over into his time with the Gulls. It’s unfortunate that he saw so little time with San Diego at the end of this past season, but that’s far from an indictment of his play. Instead, it’s merely a commentary on how the Gulls were focused on advancing to the third round and going with players who knew the system best. Sideroff is a good prospect, but at the end of last season, he wasn’t good enough to force his way onto San Diego’s roster when the team was on the brink. This year, he’s going to need to be good enough. Like San Diego’s other new players, he won’t be counted on to be the Gulls’ top player, but Sideroff has the offensive ability to score at the AHL level. He doesn’t need to lead San Diego in scoring, but I am expecting him to get consistent time in the team’s top six and powerplay units. While he’s not known for his defensive ability, he can be an effective penalty killer, and it would be a great sign of his development if he was consistently used on San Diego’s shorthanded unit.
In terms of his NHL future, Sideroff could end up as a solid second line scorer. He’s got a long way to go before he gets there, but he could be a 20 goal, 50 point NHL player someday. However, like most young players, if he wants to reach that level of play, he’s going to need to focus on putting forth a consistent effort every time he’s on the ice. Even if his offensive skills don’t translate, if Sideroff can grow other aspects of his game, he could carve out a home for himself on the third or fourth line in the NHL. His poor showing in the playoffs last year is concerning, but his overall level of play for the entirety of the season, plus his prowess in overtime, help allay those fears.
Given a number of other young forwards in San Diego, I don’t think Sideroff will make his NHL debut this coming season. However, if the injury bug strikes Anaheim or he plays great throughout the season, he could get his chance. I think that it’s more likely he stays in San Diego for the entire season and gets a shot at the NHL in a year, with a chance at a full-time roster position in two or three years. There is no need to rush Sideroff, so Anaheim can let him spend a lot of time in the AHL and hopefully develop properly.
Sideroff’s three-year entry-level contract will begin this season and he’ll be a restricted free agent when it’s over. Assuming he stays healthy and has developed properly, the Ducks should be offering him an extension when his current deal is up. He likely won’t be a full-time NHL player yet, but I do think he’ll have some games with Anaheim under his belt in three years time. If that’s the case, a short two-way deal is likely. However, if he impresses and becomes a full-time NHL player earlier than expected, he could push for a longer deal on a one-way contract.
The next prospect update will be on Andy Welinski.
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July 21th, 2017