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Prospect Update: Bryce Kindopp
By Thomas Harrington
An undrafted free agent, Bryce Kindopp just completed his first professional season, playing in both the ECHL and AHL.
Kindopp started the season in the ECHL, playing for the Tulsa Oilers and scoring two goals and four points in 14 games. Once the AHL got its season started, Kindopp was called up to the Gulls and remained there for the rest of the season. With San Diego, he played up and down the lineup, but was primarily used on the team’s third line, often lining up with fellow rookie Benoit-Olivier Groulx. The two developed strong chemistry as the season went along and were often paired together on the penalty kill as well. Overall, Kindopp played in 39 games for the Gulls and scored 10 goals and 20 points. He was tied for sixth in goals and ninth in points on the team. Among AHL rookies, he was tied for 11th in goals and 18th in points.
My expectations for Kindopp from last year were fairly vague. He was a goal scorer in juniors, with three straight seasons of scoring more goals than assists, and I was hoping to see that translate to the AHL. I was hoping for something in the 15 goal range, but scoring 10 in a shortened season is good enough for me to meet that expectation. Regardless of his offense, it was his defensive play that really impressed me.
My expectations for Kindopp for this coming season are the same as what I set for Groulx: be better than he was during his rookie season. Kindopp scored 10 goals and 20 points; I want him to improve on both of those totals, while continuing to become a strong defensive player. When the Ducks signed Kindopp, I was initially hoping he’d morph into a 20 goal scorer. Now, I’m thinking he might turn into a player who tops out around 15 goals, but is excellent on the penalty kill.
This coming season, Kindopp will be back with the Gulls, and I expect he’ll be there for the entire season. While it’s possible he could get called up to the NHL, I don’t think he will because I think the Ducks are deep enough at wing. Also, he likely wouldn’t be the first choice of callup if Anaheim needed a winger from the Gulls. However, if he can significantly improve over last season, I could see it happening.
While I don’t think Kindopp will make his NHL debut this season, I do think it’s a real possibility in the 2022-20223 season. I don’t think he’ll be in the NHL on a full-time basis, but I do think he’d be one one of the first players called up to Anaheim from San Diego. By then, Anaheim’s roster will likely look very different. If not re-signed, wingers Rickard Rakell and Nicolas Deslauriers will be gone (if they aren’t traded before then). Kindopp hasn’t shown that he’s a slam dunk to make it to Anaheim, but if he can build off a solid rookie season, I could see him doing it.
Kindopp has two more years left on his entry-level deal, and he’ll be a restricted free agent when it’s over. Given that I don’t think he’ll be in the NHL on a full-time basis yet, I don’t expect him to get a one-way or long-term contract. I do think he’ll be re-signed on a two-way deal for a year or two. Even if he never becomes a complete NHLer, he’s shown that he’s a solid minor league player, and hopefully one who will keep improving in the years to come.
The next prospect update will be on Ian Moore.
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August 22nd, 2021