Blades' Siemens looking to be big hit at Top Prospects game
Saskatoon Blades defenceman Duncan Siemens is in the minority for tonight's Home Hardware Top Prospects Game in Toronto.
Unlike most of the participants, Siemens has more penalty minutes than points, so don't be surprised if he makes his point somewhere other than the scoreboard.
"I'm going out there to play my game -- hard and physical with a bit of an edge," said Siemens, who has more PIMS (72 in 45 games) than any of the prospects battling tonight at Air Canada Centre. "Hopefully, I'll impress the people I need to impress, but most importantly, just play a good, solid, hard game like I can."
The annual event features 40 of the top-rated prospects for the upcoming NHL entry draft. Team Don Cherry -- which includes Siemens and Prince Albert Raiders centre Mark McNeill -- takes on Team [link widoczny dla zalogowanych]. Central Scouting ranks Siemens 14th among draft-eligible skaters in North American leagues, while McNeill is 22nd.
"I'm not going to play it any differently than I would any Saskatoon Blade game," said Siemens, a 17-year-old product of Sherwood Park, Alta. "And if there's a guy coming with his head down, you better believe that I'm coming."
The 6-foot-3, 197-pounder is not averse to a scrap, either. But when his gloves are on, he'll focus on making life difficult for some of the Canadian Hockey League's top offensive performers. Siemens owns the WHL's third-best plus-minus rating (+29). Only his defence partner, Stefan Elliott (+35), and Spokane Chiefs blue-liner Brenden Kichton (+35) have higher ratings.
Siemens is the ninth Blade to be selected for a Top Prospects roster since 2004. Before heading to Toronto, he got some advice from two Saskatoon teammates -- Elliott and Brayden Schenn -- who faced off in the 2009 event. Schenn, then a member of the Brandon Wheat Kings,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], helped Team [link widoczny dla zalogowanych] earn a 6-1 win over Elliott's Team Cherry.
"Brayden Schenn and Stefan Elliott are two remarkable hockey players, so you go to them when you have any type of question, whether it's about a Top Prospects Game or various other things," said Siemens, who has four goals and 23 assists in 45 games this season. "When it comes to a situation on the ice or even outside of the rink, they've experienced a lot and they have a lot of knowledge to share with the team."
BLADE BITS: Blades LW Curtis Hamilton was named to the Top Prospects Game last season, but didn't play due to a fractured collarbone. The Blades' other reps have included: Elliott (2009), D Jyri Niemi (2008), LW Colton Gillies (2007), C Wacey Rabbit and RW Devin Setoguchi (2005), and D Mike Green and C Joe Barnes (2004). . . . Although one of the teams bears [link widoczny dla zalogowanych]'s name, he won't be behind the bench tonight. Officially, [link widoczny dla zalogowanych] is out due to the expected birth of a grandchild, but many observers have long cited his participation as a conflict of interest because of his role as a player agent.
. . . In [link widoczny dla zalogowanych]'s absence, Doug Gilmour and former Blade Wendel Clark take the coaching reins.
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