By Michael Caples –
PITTSBURGH – Patrick Sieloff said he couldn’t stop smiling.
And really, who could blame him? The Ann Arbor native had just been selected by the Calgary Flames in the second round of the 2012 NHL Draft.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Sieloff said. “I’m still kind of in shock. It’s a dream come true. It was my childhood dream, growing up obviously you want to get drafted and play in the NHL. It starts here, this is just the starting point, but throwing on the jersey, it’s awesome. I can’t get the smile off my face.”
The Compuware and National Team Development Program alum said that in no way was he disappointed that he wasn’t picked in the first round. Mock drafts had the physical defenseman going either late in the first round, or somewhere in the second, as the NHL Draft neared.
“You never know, you see the mock drafts and stuff, but it comes down to what team wants you,” Sieloff said. “They may have their own list, and basically I was going there open-minded, whatever happens happens, and basically, I’m really excited about today, I couldn’t be happier.”
Sieloff said that the Flames should expect to see a hard-hitting defenseman grow through their system.
“I like to play against the top two lines, [be] a shutdown defenseman and open-ice hitter,” Sieloff said. “I look for that hit, but I don’t go out of the way for it. Sometimes you catch them off guard, but at the same time, I’m not a big offensive guy but I will contribute a little bit offensively, but that’s not really my game – it’s more playing against their top line and going after those guys.”
The Michigan native said he has spent a lot of time watching a certain Red Wing known for his big hits.
“I grew up watching Niklas Kronwall,” Sieloff said. “He’s a guy I like to try to model my game after. He can change the momentum of a game with a hit and stuff like that, he’s a guy I look up to.”
Sieloff said he can’t wait to experience a game at the Flames’ building, the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“I’ve never been up there, but I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I’ve heard about how beautiful of a place it is, and it’s a crazy atmosphere at the rink. I’ve seen games on TV and it’s always sold out and everything so it should be great.”
Until he makes it to Calgary, Sieloff will be improving his game at the OHL level. He will join the Windsor Spitfires in the fall.
“I’m going to Windsor,” Sieloff said. “Being in Canada will be awesome, but I’m looking forward to being there. A great coaching staff there, I know some of the players…I’m looking forward to it and it should be fun.”
It will also be the first time he will be outside of the state of Michigan.
“I grew up in Michigan, was there my whole life, never moved out,” Sieloff said. “I grew up playing for Detroit Compuware, and also went to the National Team Development Program. From there, I think that’s where I went forward with my development. My two years there, I put on a lot of weight, became a better player, and I feel like that was the right choice for me at the time, instead of deciding to go to the OHL or college or the USHL or anything like that.”
Sieloff also said he had a great time walking the red carpet before the NHL Draft began Friday night.
“It was cool; it was the first time I’ve ever done something like that,” he said. “It kind of was like, an eye-opener. I’ve never done something like that obviously, and just to see everyone, all the fans come out for the draft, is awesome. It’s really neat.”