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Blake Siebenaler played his first season in the OHL, after spending 2012-13 season split between the Belle Tire elite midget team in Michigan, with the USNTDP U17 and in the USHL with the Indiana Ice. Siebenaler would become a top four defenceman on a rebuilding Ice Dogs club and help the team to seventh in the Eastern Conference scoring 6 goals and 30 points in the process. Siebenaler and the Ice Dogs lost in seven games to the North Bay Battalion in the first round of the playoffs. While it was a disappointing loss, they gave the heavily favored Battalion all they could handle in the series. Siebenaler, had a goal and four assists in the series as he continued what had been a strong second half performance into the playoffs. The improvement Siebenaler showed in the second half of the year, certainly helped in the Fort Wayne, Indiana native’s ascent up draft boards.
Defense — shoots Right
Born Feb 27 1996 — Fort Wayne, IN
Height 6.01 — Weight 190 [185 cm/86 kg]
Blake Siebenaler is an absolutely fantastic skater. He is one of the fastest players in this draft, with outstanding acceleration, and the edgework and pivots to be extremely mobile. He skates almost as quickly backwards as he does forwards and this helps him to make plays at both ends of the ice. He could stand to improve his strength, especially in his core, in order to be stronger and better balanced on his skates and win more battles, and tougher to knock off the puck.
Offensively Siebenaler is a good stickhandler who combines that with his speed to help lead the rush from the backend for the Ice Dogs. He also is willing to join the rush as a trailer. He makes strong, crisp passes out of his own zone, and so he is extremely strong and well-rounded in the transition game. Siebenaler has a good wirst shot and quick release, but could stand to improve his slapshot. From the point his slap shot is hard, but he needs to work on getting it through to the net. He has a ton of shots either blocked or wide of the net in working inside the zone. His decision making at the point on the powerplay could also stand to be quicker and this would help him put up more points.
Defensively Siebenaler really improved as the year went on. Early in the year he was often beaten one-on-one as well as being caught out of position quite a bit. However he showed steady improvement to the point where he may have been Niagara’s best defensive defenceman in the playoffs. He learned to use his quick feet to keep the play in front of him, and a long, active stick to break up plays. He could stand to be more physical on the blueline and increase his strength to win battles but this should come with improved strength.
Blake Siebenaler’s game is similar to Paul Martin of the Pittsburgh Penguins. This is a stylistic comparison only and not a talent comparison though. If he reaches his potential Siebenaler could be a very effective puck moving defenceman in the NHL. I don’t see him as a first pairing powerplay guy, but he could be effective as a second unit player.
Here are some highlights of Siebenaler in action.
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