ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling players who just completed their rookie seasons with the organization. This installment takes a look at defenseman Duncan Siemens.
A first-round selection (No. 11 overall) by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2011 NHL Draft, defenseman Duncan Siemens made his way back to NHL ice this season.
After playing in the season finale against the Chicago Blackhawks in 2014-15, Siemens had spent the majority of the past two seasons with the Avs' American Hockey League affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage. He led the Rampage as an alternate captain this past year, tallying seven points (two goals and five assists) and racking up 100 penalty minutes in 73 games. He ranked second among Rampage players for games played.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound player received his second NHL recall on April 3, almost two years after his first stint with the Avalanche. He played in three games with Colorado last season.
The following is a recount of the blueliner's experience as an Avs rookie.
Appearing in 54 games with the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL during the 2014-15 season, Siemens received his first NHL recall on April 10, 2015. The Edmonton, Alberta, native made his NHL debut the following day, playing in Colorado's season finale against the Chicago Blackhawks.
While it was just one game, the experience gave the defenseman a taste of what it takes to compete against NHL-quality players.
"You have to put everything you have out there every shift," Siemens recalled of his debut. "A split second of forgetting to tie a guy's stick up could cost you a goal. Everything happens that much quicker up here obviously than down at the American League."
Siemens was reassigned to the Monsters following the game, where he finished out the AHL campaign.
Video: Siemens on his 2016-2017 recall to the Avs and past experience with the team
Back At It
On April 3, 2017, the Avs gave Siemens another chance to gain experience in the NHL. With four games left in Colorado's regular season, the call-up was a low-pressure opportunity for the D-man to demonstrate the skills he had been honing in the AHL.
Leading up to his second NHL start, Siemens was confident.
"If I go out there and do my job the way I know how, I think I can be a contributing factor to help the team win," he said.
Although the defenseman did not mark the stat sheet, Siemens' presence helped carry the Avs to an overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks on April 4. He recorded one shot on goal and racked up 10:28 of ice time.
Siemens then dressed in the Avs' following two contests. On April 6, in a clash against the Minnesota Wild, he recorded 11:05 on the ice. On April 8, while competing against the Dallas Stars, the defenseman again tallied one shot on goal and gained more playing time--he skated for 15:23 during the away game.
Following the April 8 matchup, Siemens was returned to the Rampage and suited up in the AHL team's final four contests.
Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar liked what he saw in Siemens during the defender's short stint with the Avs.
"Steady defender, heavy guy. Had a pretty good season down there (in the AHL), too, actually," said Bednar.
On July 18, Colorado announced it signed Siemens to a new one-year contract for the 2017-18 campaign. The defenseman will compete for an NHL roster spot this coming season.
Siemens plays physical--blocking shots and hitting hard. The 23-year-old executed 10 hits during his time with the Avalanche, and his strength combined with formidable passing and skating abilities is the signature playing style of the young defenseman.
If he stays healthy, Siemens is expected to consistently perform and use his large stature to the team's advantage as he competes for an NHL roster spot next year.