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Prospect Profile: Kiefer Sherwood
By Thomas Harrington
Welcome to the first, and potentially only, prospect profile of the summer: Kiefer Sherwood. Usually, we’ll start the summer off with Anaheim’s graduated prospects; however, none of Anaheim’s prospects graduated from the rookie ranks this past season. Marcus Pettersson came close, but he only played in 22 NHL games this past season, and will still be considered a rookie next season. With no graduated prospects, the summer will start off with this profile of the lone prospect that the Ducks added since last year’s draft.
On March 20th, the Ducks signed Sherwood to a two-year entry-level contract. Sherwood was courted by several teams, including Montreal, Boston, and Pittsburgh. His decision to sign in Anaheim shows that the Ducks can be an attractive destination for free agents, even when put up against some of the NHL’s most storied franchises. He also could have turned pro a year ago, but he opted to return to college for his junior year. After signing with the Ducks, Sherwood signed an ATO with the San Diego Gulls and joined them for the end of the season. Sherwood has played for Miami University of Ohio for the last three seasons. Overall, he appeared in 106 NCAA games and scored 34 goals and 86 points. Miami struggled in all three seasons that Sherwood was there for, going through three consecutive losing seasons for the first time in almost 30 years. Before playing college hockey, Sherwood played in the USHL.
In Sherwood’s freshman season at Miami University, he played in 34 games and scored 11 goals and 18 points. He only missed two games and his 11 goals led the team. He had a bit of slow start to his college career, but his play dramatically improved as the season progressed and scored 16 of his 18 points over his final 23 games of the season. That included six goals in the final eight regular season games.
Sherwood’s strong play continued into his sophomore season, as he played in all 36 games and scored 14 goals and 38 points. His 38 points were second on the team, and he led Ohio with 14 multi-point games. Sherwood also led the team with 17 powerplay points.
In his junior season, Sherwood once again played in 36 games and scored nine goals and 30 points. His 30 points were second on the team again, and he led the team with 10 multi-point games. Similar to his freshman season, Sherwood had a slow start to his junior year, but he really came on as the season progressed and scored 23 points over the final 20 games of the season.
Sherwood appeared in 11 games with the Gulls to close out their regular season and scored two goals. Sherwood had about as good a pro debut as one could hope for when he scored the overtime game-winner against Cleveland to give San Diego the 4-3 win. He picked up his second career goal a couple games later, but was shutout the rest of the season, joining the entire Gulls roster in an offensive cold streak that ultimately kept the Gulls out of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
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Sherwood is a forward who can play both left wing and center. While he’s not the most skilled player, there’s no question that Sherwood is a driven player who wants to succeed at every level. Even though Miami as a team struggled greatly during his time there, Sherwood did all he could to help that team win, including returning for his junior season when he could have turned pro. He was one of Ohio’s leaders in the three years he was there and was an assistant captain in his final season.
This coming season, Sherwood will be one of several rookies vying for time in San Diego. However, as a 23-year-old, he’ll be one of the Gulls’ older rookies, which could help him get some more ice time, as could his ability to play both wing and center. While Sherwood likely won’t ever be an NHL star, he could become a dependable and consistent skater. For this season, I just want him to have a solid rookie season with the Gulls. I’m not expecting him to make his way to Anaheim, but if he plays well enough, he could have a chance. Few expected Giovanni Fiore to play in Anaheim last year after he was signed, but a great training camp gave him a shot at the NHL. Maybe Sherwood will have a similar training camp and preseason, or maybe he goes on a hot streak in the AHL that earns him a promotion up to Anaheim. He’s shown in the NCAA that he can get hot over long stretches of the season.
Sherwood’s two-year contract will begin next season, and he’ll be a restricted free agent when it ends. Given his age, the Ducks will likely want to see big things from him over the next two seasons. If not, the Ducks could opt to not re-sign him two years from now. However, if he can develop into a solid player during the span of his contract, then expect to the Ducks to re-up him.
With the prospect profile done, my attention will now turn towards the upcoming draft at the end of June. I’ll start off by looking at the teams picking before the Ducks and see if there are any potential scenarios where the Ducks could possibly move up from the 23rd overall pick. After that, I’ll do my annual draft prediction, and then a recap of what moves the Ducks make at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Once the draft and the first few days of free agency are over, the summer will turn towards the annual prospect updates. If the Ducks do end up signing any more prospects as their seasons’ end, or the Ducks acquire one or more at the draft via trade, expect to see a new prospect profile for the new player.
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May 25th, 2018