A season after finding minutes hard to find on an experienced Everett Silvertips blue line, 2002-born defenseman Ronan Seeley is ready to show what he’s got.
A 16-year-old playing behind a stellar top-six group, Seeley did not see the ice as much as the former first round Bantam Draft pick would have liked. He put up one goal and added eight assists in 52 regular season games.
“I thought he had a great year last year. He was behind a tough d-core. All six ‘D’ had played in the WHL Final. That’s not going to be easy for a young guy to get into. He handled it well,” Everett head coach Dennis Williams recalled.
“It was tough at times for sure. Looking back at it now, I learned a lot from them. I can take that into my play and my everyday life. It was a good experience overall. I did get to play some and that was good for my confidence,” Seeley said.
Seeley started to show his mettle more and more to Williams and earned more ice time as the playoffs wore on. In Everett’s second round series loss to the Spokane Chiefs, Williams was impressed by his youngest blue liner.
“Sometimes your opportunities come quicker then how you want or what you expect, but his took a little longer. But if you saw how he played in the playoffs against Spokane, he played like a top-four d-man for us,” Williams relayed.
After the season ended, the next time Williams got to coach Seeley was at Hockey Canada’s U18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup camp in Calgary. He was an assistant on the team and went on to win a silver medal in the Czech Republic. Seeley did not make the final roster.
“It was a great camp. Obviously not the result that I wanted. I wanted to be on that team and I think I was good enough to be on that team. Playing with those guys, it was really fast-paced. I saw where I fit in with those guys – the top players in my age group. Even though I didn’t make it, I know I can play with these players,” Seeley said.
While the end result was not what he wanted, Williams was impressed by the 2020 NHL draft eligible defenseman at the camp.
“I was able to have him at the Under-18 camp and you could just see a different demeanor, body language and confidence. He probably lost that a bit last year because of the position he was in behind those six ‘D’. It was nothing he did,” Williams said.
With three of those top-six defensemen no longer with the Silvertips, Seeley knows there are minutes to be had if he works hard and earns them. Part of that was all the work he put in off the ice and on it this summer, getting stronger for his second season in the WHL.
“I got bigger and stronger. I will be able to bring that into my work down-low and play in all situations. I worked out with Crash Conditioning this year. Specifically with upper body and lower body and power and strength. Overall, I just got bigger and stronger,” Seely stated.
With the NHL drafted Wyatte Wylie and Gianni Fairbrother heading off to their NHL camps soon and Jake Christiansen getting a camp invite to St Louis’ camp, Seeley will be the oldest blue liner around the team. He knows this is a chance for him to take on more of a leadership role as the most experienced guy left on the blue line while the others are gone. This will set him up for what should be a bigger role for him in 2019-20.
“I’m not the oldest guy here, but with my experience I know I will have to step up. And fill in roles where some guys are leaving. I’m prepared and excited for it,” Seeley said.
“This year, we expect him to take that next step and log top-four minutes for us,” Williams stated.
It’s hard to argue with that expectation for the Olds, Alberta native after he opened Everett’s training camp on Thursday with a hat trick and overall stellar play.
It seems the time has come for the next generation of Everett Silvertips defenseman to step into the spotlight.