EVERETT — If there were any questions as to whether or not Bryce Kindopp could be the primary focal point of the Everett Silvertips’ offense, he hasn’t just answered them, he’s absolutely squashed them.
Through five games, Kindopp’s seven goals and 12 points lead the Western Hockey League after the overage forward added four goals and two assists in a pair of wins at Kamloops and at Spokane over the weekend. The next closest in goals is Lethbridge’s Dylan Cozens — a first-round pick by Buffalo in the 2019 NHL draft — and three other tied with five goals. Five players are tied for second with 10 points.
Other than being maybe a half-step faster and a year older, Kindopp hasn’t changed much in his approach from last season, when he led the Silvertips with 39 goals as a 19-year-old.
“There’s a correlation to why he scores goals because he goes to the net,” Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams said. “The other guys can learn from him. He goes right to the paint area, he uses his speed, he’s strong on his stick, he’s good at picking pucks and getting takeaways out. He’s playing 25, 26 minutes a game and he’s always a threat when he’s on the ice.”
Although his billet brother and linemate from last season, Connor Dewar, moved on to professional hockey, Kindopp has formed instant chemistry with import center Michal Gut. The center from the Czech Republic assisted on three of Kindopp’s four goals over the weekend.
“He’s just one of those guys that’s a difference-maker,” Kindopp said. “He’s got great vision out there and he’s a great skater. He shoots the puck well and he does the little things really well. You just go to the net and he just finds me, that kind of thing. He’s been really fun to play with.”
At 77 career WHL goals, Kindopp is 35 away from Patrick Bajkov, the Silvertips’ franchise goal leader at 112.
Two Silvertips on NHL Central Scouting list
The National Hockey League Central Scouting bureau released its initial players to watch list and two Silvertips, Gut and defenseman Ronan Seeley, were given ‘C’ ratings, which translates to a fourth-to-sixth-round pick.
Christiansen situation still in limbo
Overage forward Jake Christiansen was released from his amateur tryout from the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage, a St. Louis Blues affiliate, but was immediately added to the roster of the Stockton Heat, a Calgary affiliate, on a professional tryout. Christiansen hasn’t dressed for a game yet.
In the case Christiansen is returned to Everett, the Silvertips have 14 days to resolve their overage situation, as 20-year-olds Max Patterson, Wyatte Wylie and Kindopp are already on the roster and teams are allowed to carry just three overage players.
A Sunday of firsts
During Everett’s 4-3 win over Spokane on Sunday, goaltender Keegan Karki earned his first career WHL win and rookie forwards Jacob Wright and Brendan Lee tallied their first career goals.
— After sustaining an upper-body injury on Saturday at Kamloops, 2001-born forward Gage Goncalves is expected to miss Wednesday’s road tilt at Victoria and both of Everett’s home games over the weekend.
— Seventeen-year-old forward Jackson Berezowski is questionable for Wednesday’s game at Victoria after leaving Saturday’s game at Kamloops with a lower-body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day.
— Import forward Martin Fasko-Rudas is skating and handling pucks, but hasn’t been cleared to shoot pucks or for full contact. He’s still week-to-week with an upper-body injury after offseason surgery and will be reevaluated after Wednesday, the 90-day mark after his procedure.
— Eighteen-year-old forward Conrad Mitchell remains week-to-week with an upper-body injury.
Speaking of the Stockton Heat, former Silvertips forward Byron Froese (2008-2010) was named the team’s captain and has potted two goals over the team’s first two games of the season.
Josh Horton covers the Silvertips for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter, @JoshHortonEDH