Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer
Rarely does a month go by that Duncan Siemens doesn't find himself watching yet another video clip of 13-time NHL All-Star Scott Stevens in action.
Stevens' intimidating presence and willingness to do whatever it took are the motivating traits Siemens can't seem to get enough of as he stares at the computer screen admiring clips of the 2007 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee.
"The reason I admire him so much is because I loved the way he played the game," Siemens told NHL.com. "He went out there with a huge edge on his shoulders and made every single player, probably even some of the guys on his own team, scared of him.
"It's the same way I want to play. If you ask any forward that played in his day, when they saw him on the ice, they were hoping the coach was calling someone else's line. He played for keeps and that's something that I try to incorporate into my game."
Now through his second full season playing defense for the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, Siemens is indeed earning the reputation of a solid skater with plenty of bite. Sound familiar?
Center Mark McNeill of the Prince Albert Raiders has had to strategize a way to avoid Siemens on more than one occasion when their teams meet in a WHL game.
"We see each other a lot since he's just down the road from Prince Albert," McNeill said. "He's a big body out there and plays well in his own zone. He's even manning their power play right now. He's got a lot of attributes to his game. He throws his weight around really well and I'd have to say he's one of the toughest guys in the league."
Siemens finished this season as the top-rated WHL defensemen, and No. 10 among all North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's mid-term rankings for the 2011 Entry Draft.
"I mean, I look at the rankings and guys talk about them in the locker room, but I take it all with a grain of salt and move on," Siemens said. "No one is ever going to be perfect so there's always room to get better."
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|2011 NHL ENTRY DRAFT |
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"Siemens is one of the top players available from the (WHL) this year," Central Scouting's B.J. MacDonald told NHL.com. "He's a strong, smooth skater with good composure and very poised under pressure. He's got good size and isn't afraid to use it."
In 72 games this season, Siemens had 5 goals, 43 points, 121 penalty minutes and a plus-40 rating. The native of Sherwood Park, Alta., also has gotten into seven fights this season -- eight if you include his tussle with David Musil of the Vancouver Giants in the NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game.
Siemens, upset over a collision behind his own net with Portland Winterhawks forward Sven Baertschi in the final minute of the second period, had a few choice words for Baertschi and Red Deer Rebels center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. That's when Musil (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and Siemens (6-3, 197), who was glad a player his size offered to settle the score, went at it.
"We had talked after the game and he (Musil) said he saw me, Baertschi and Hopkins down there and he said, 'Uh-oh I better get down there,'" Siemens said. "We both had been out on the ice for a while. I had been being a little bit of a pest all game, so when I saw him coming down, there's no turning back no matter how tired you are. I knew when he looked at me what he was thinking. And I had asked him earlier in the game."
Siemens, who Saskatoon took with the third pick of the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft, believes that today's NHL general managers are in the market for defensemen who possess a mixture of offensive skills and shut-down ability.
"There's always going to be room for both those types of players and it all depends on the style of game the team plays," he said. "I think that being diverse, being able to play hard in your own end and contribute offensively, is huge."
When pressed on the issue, Siemens confessed to being more of a shut-down player.
"I like being out there against the other team's top line and doing the job of making sure they don't get on the score sheet, so that's definitely how I view myself as a player," he said.
"Duncan isn't overly offensive, but does play on the power play and moves the puck well," he said. "He gets shots through and is solid defensively, 1-on-1. There are a good line of top offensive forwards in the WHL this year, but Duncan still should go near the top 10 in the draft."
On an international level, Siemens anchored Team Canada's defense at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament this past August in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He helped lead the club to a gold medal while scoring 3 points in five games.
"Playing in the Hlinka was a tremendous experience … it was only the second time I'd ever been out of Canada," said Siemens, who said his only other international travel was to Mexico. "It was my first time in Europe, so it was great. The first time you get to put on your country's jersey is an extreme honor." Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale