Sieloff settling in with Windsor
CALGARY, AB -- When it came time to name alternate captains for the 2012-13 season, Windsor Spitfires President and Head Coach Bob Boughner didn't have a hard decision to make when it came to one player in particular.
"Paddy came in and had a really good camp but more importantly, I watched how he prepared every day," the bench boss said of Flames prospect Patrick Sieloff, who was named one of the club's alternate captains on Sept. 18. "How he got himself ready, his practice habits - he treats every practice like it's a game - he's very intense.
"The way he carries himself off the ice, the players gravitate to him. He's a good person."
Sieloff himself shies away from talking about the accolade, calling it "a huge honour," and directs the focus to the team, not individual distinctions.
"I just want to keep my game the way it is - keep doing what has made me successful - and continue to get better so I can help the team. We have a really good group here and I think we can do really well this year."
The 18 year-old defenceman is in his first season in the OHL after spending the last two years with the U17 and U18 U.S. National Team Development Program in the USHL. Originally, he planned on taking the collegiate route and playing for Miami of Ohio University. After careful consideration, he opted to head to the OHL as he felt it would more beneficial for his development.
A big part of his decision was based on the fact his OHL rights had been dealt to the Spitfires. Sieloff was selected by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the sixth round of the OHL Priority Selection draft but the organization traded his rights to Windsor for Jack Campbell on Nov. 2, 2011.
Sieloff, who hails from Ann Arbour, MI, grew up watching the Spitfires and saw how many of their players ended up in the NHL. He believes the organization offers him the quickest path to a professional career and signed with the team this past spring.
"I've loved every second of it so far. I haven't looked back at my decision at all. I'm excited to get more games under my belt and keep improving."
The Spitfires fell in their season opener to the Owen Sound Attack on Sept. 20 but rebounded nicely against Sault Ste. Marie two days later with a 3-2 win over the Greyhounds. Sieloff picked up his first point of the year that night, assisting on Jordan Maletta's first period power play goal.
Sieloff is known as a shutdown, physical blueliner so seeing him used on Windsor's second power play unit isn't something many would expect. But the coaching staff quickly recognized one of Sieloff's often-unrecognized skills - a devastatingly hard shot - and knew they could use it on the power play.
A lot of teams roll with a very direct, simplistic plan when it comes to their second unit on the man advantage and that is get pucks on net and bodies in front of the goaltender. Sieloff's howitzer combined with his ability to hold the line make him a perfect candidate for the role.
"Paddy's very, very good shooting with his head up and he can hit the net," Boughner said. "He has a bomb from the point. For us, it's really basic; get it back to Sieloff, find an opening, get to the net and let's crash the net. He's one of our better guys at getting the puck to the net."
Sieloff has been enjoying the experience and is hoping the opportunity bolsters his offensive game this year.
"It's been fun. I'm really grateful the coaching staff is giving me the opportunity and I want to keep improving. I'm taking it day by day, trying to get better. It's not something I've done much in the past but I like it a lot."
Going forward, the Flames 2012 second round draft pick is looking to solidify himself as one of the team's top defencemen and help lead the Spitfires to their first Memorial Cup appearance since 2010.
"I need to play my own game and not worry about anything else. I want to be plus-player, I don't want to be a guy that is down in the ditch with minuses. I want to contribute as much as I possibly can to the team."