It’s not often a 16-year-old defenseman pops out on tape.
But that’s exactly what happened when Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams re-watched Everett’s home opener against Vancouver on Sept. 22, marvelling at a play rookie blueliner Ronan Seeley pulled off.
Everett was on a power play in the second period, and Seeley knifed through the defense, and with a quick hesitation, froze the entire defense and dished it off to Martin Fasko-Rudas for a prime scoring chance.
Fasko-Rudas couldn’t complete the goal, but it left with Williams’ mouth agape.
“(Vancouver goaltender David Tendeck) made the save, but Fasko should have buried that,” Williams said with a chuckle. “But what a play from a (2002-born) defenseman.
“When I watched that video and saw how he just froze everybody, a little hesitation, a little deception and to feed that backdoor to Fasko, that’s a big one from Ronan for sure.”
Everett’s first-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft (No. 20 overall) has shown flashes of elite offensive acumen in his brief Western Hockey League career, although he hadn’t recorded a point in three games entering Friday.
No matter his impact this season, Seeley figures to be a main component of the Silvertips’ power play and defensive contingent as he matures. And in many ways, Everett is just happy he is with the organization in general.
Seeley, the son of former WHL player Patrick Seeley, received a flurry of offers from Division I colleges in the United States, but ultimately signed a WHL standard player agreement in December 2017.
“I want to play in the NHL and I feel like this is the best place to get me there,” Seeley said. “There are so many guys with NHL contracts that I’ll play against and it’s great exposure for me.”
The hype surrounding Seeley only increased after inking his contract with the Silvertips. He earned most valuable player honors at the Telus Cup, Canada’s nationwide midget tournament, after leading Lethbridge Midget AAA with seven points (two goals, five assists) over seven games and a bronze medal run.
The offensive potential is why the Silvertips nabbed Seeley with the No. 20 overall pick in 2017. But if the 5-foot-11 defenseman wants to earn tons of ice time this season, he needs to make strides on the defensive end.
According to Williams, if the beginning of Seeley’s career is any indication, that shouldn’t be a problem.
“He’s a very smart player,” Williams said.” (He) looks very comfortable out there on the offensive blue line on the power play. Those are his obvious strengths. But it’s going to take some time for Ronan. He’s got to learn the defensive side of the puck. He’s got to learn zone coverage, he’s going to learn how to shield, when to contain, how to box out, there’s a lot of learning there, which you expect for a player coming up for the first year.
“The good part about Ronan is what he has to learn in his game is all coachable and teachable. The aspects that he has in his games that are strengths, those aren’t always coachable and teachable. His vision, his playmaking, his poise with the puck is only going to get better as he continues to play in Everett and he’s going to be a great piece for us moving forward.”