Finnish import Sedoff has enjoyed exceptional season on Rebels blueline
Christoffer Sedoff could have easily decided to stay in Finland last fall instead of returning to the Red Deer Rebels after a one-year absence due to the pandemic.
Sedoff, after all, had been passed over in back-to-back NHL drafts and was coming off a 2020-21 season in which he played pro hockey in his homeland.
But the talented defenceman had decided all along that Red Deer was where he wanted to be in 2021-22, confident that the Rebels would be more than merely competitive while also hoping that further exposure to pro scouts would enhance his chance of getting an NHL opportunity.
So the now 20-year-old returned to the WHL club that selected him in the 2019 Canadian Hockey League import draft and has been everything that the Rebels anticipated, if not more.
“He’s been super solid for us,” Rebels assistant coach Mike Egener said Tuesday. “It’s been nice for the organization to get him back.
“At the beginning of the year there were lots of positive comments from Brent (GM Sutter) who had him as a 17-year-old, in terms of his compete level. We were super excited to get him and he’s been just a force I think all year.”
Sedoff has never harboured any second thoughts regarding his decision to return to North America.
“That was my first thing — I really wanted to come back,” he said. “I wanted to be here last year but with COVID I couldn’t be here.
“It was definitely easy to come back . . . a lot of old faces and new faces too. It was very easy to come back into this room and it’s been a lot of fun this season. We’ve been playing very good as a team and winning games.”
Sedoff showed plenty of pro potential during the 2019-20 season while scoring five goals and recording 19 points in 61 games from the back end.
And yet, despite being ranked by Central Scouting for the 2020 NHL entry draft, he was ignored.
He was passed over again last year but should be a solid candidate to be either drafted this summer or get a free agent tryout from a NHL team.
The No.1 defenceman on a team that has won more than 40 games this season, Sedoff has played in every situation and has excelled on five-on-five play as well as both special teams.
“It’s been nice that the coaches give me as much playing time as they can,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun being out there with the guys and when the team is playing good it’s always fun to be at the rink.”
The six-foot-one, 190-pound rearguard has been a two-way driver of play this season. Offensively he’s been excellent with seven goals and 59 points in 63 games.
“Of course I’m happy with how I’m playing and how the team is playing,” said Sedoff. “We just have to continue to come and work hard and get our minds ready for the playoffs.”
If Sedoff continues to perform at a high level during the Rebels’ final two regular-season games — Wednesday in Calgary and Saturday at home versus Edmonton — surely he’ll get at least an invitation to an NHL camp next fall?
“To me he’s a player you would be eyeing for pro hockey, on the compete side of things first and foremost,” said Egener, who works with the Rebels defence.
“He takes a lot of pride in his defending skills and he continues to work on those. His skating would probably be the one thing he was to continue to work on but he’s come a long way with that over the season.”
Sedoff’s agent has received some NHL interest in his client.
“I think there have been some teams, but I’m not really thinking about that right now,” said Sedoff. “I’m just trying to think about my game and how I can get better and see what happens after the season.”
The Rebels play their final road game of the regular season Wednesday night in Calgary versus the Hitmen (7 p.m. on 106.7 REWIND Radio and WHL Live). Red Deer is 6-1-0-0 versus Calgary this season.
Notable: Rebels forward Kalan Lind is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury, while defenceman Joel Sexsmith is also out day-to-day . . . Rebels overage forward Arshdeep Bains has been awarded an extra point from Friday’s 5-4 overtime conquest of the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, getting credit for a goal originally credited to Sedoff. Video replay shows that Bains tipped home Sedoff’s point shot, giving him a league-leading 106 points, four more than Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers. Both players have two regular-season games left. Bain’s linemate, Ben King, lost the second assist on the goal once it was changed and sits third in WHL scoring with 101 points, including a league-best 50 goals . . . The Rebels will play either the Brandon Wheat Kings, Saskatoon Blades or Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round of playoffs, with the first two games set for April 22 and 23 at the Peavey Mart Centrium.