Colorado Avalanche: Duncan Siemens and his First NHL Goal

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 28: Duncan Siemens
DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 28: Duncan Siemens /

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Duncan Siemens has finally scored an NHL goal, and hopefully his play is earning him a legitimate shot at making the team.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Duncan Siemens earned his first NHL goal last night in the game against the Calgary Flames, and it was a heartwarming thing.

Siemens has only 10 NHL games to his name. He was drafted in 2011, seven years ago. He was drafted in the first round, 11th-overall. Since that pick, three of the six fellow 11th-overall have played considerably more than 10 games — an impressive 312 games for 2012’s Filip Forsberg.

It’s been a long road for Duncan Siemens to even make the NHL. However, after 274 AHL games, he finally seems to be getting his real shot at the NHL.

In this stint, his longest so far in the NHL at six games, he earned his first point against the Calgary Flames. And now he’s earned his first goal.

Duncan Siemens and his Goal

Duncan Siemens acknowledged during the post-game presser that he’s never been much of a goal scorer. He laughed and remarked that the reality of scoring his first NHL goal will probably sink in in the morning “after my nose feels a little bit better.”

Side note: Duncan Siemens now has an Adam Foote nose. He will probably have at least one black eye. Poor Duncan.

Siemens went on to say that he’d take goals “any way I can get them.”

Well, that’s good because in all reality, Duncan Siemens did not try to score a goal. He simply cleared the puck out of the defensive zone. The Flames had an empty net, and this happened:

Truthfully, the best part of the goal was the players’ reaction afterwards. I can’t see Siemens’ face to note the elation because all his teammates on the ice rush him and envelope him in a gigantic group hug. On the bench, they’re celebrating with real joy — especially look at how excited J.T. Compher is.

That’s something Siemens talked about after the game:

"“It was very heart-warming. It just goes to show how caring these guys are and how much everyone means to each other. It goes to show the character in our locker room in a lot of ways.”"

Well, Siemens has come in and had to be a character guy. In fact, in last night’s game, he was two-thirds of his way toward earning a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. To add to his goal, he also got into a fight:

He  spoke about his fight, saying, “I’m the type of guy, I don’t want to see anyone protect me if I can protect myself.”

That’s his first regular season NHL fight. He did get into a preseason fight this year as well.

Reaction to Duncan Siemens’ Goal

As noted above, the players were delighted that Duncan Siemens got his first NHL goal. Defenseman Tyson Barrie spoke about it in his post game presser, saying, “To get the goal at the end of the night was awesome — I know all the boys were super-happy for him.”

Barrie likes what Siemens brings to the team:

"“He plays the game really hard. You love it. He’s always willing to throw the body or drop the gloves. He brings a lot of life to our dressing room and obviously on the ice. I thought he played great tonight.”"

I think it’s safe to say Siemens brings almost the exact opposite game of Barrie, and that’s a good thing. You’ve got to have a mix of styles to have a successful team.

Coach Jared Bednar also likes what he’s seeing from Siemens. He said in his post-game presser that he likes the way he’s playing. Previously, after the home win against the Vancouver Canucks, he went into detail:

"“He limits his mistakes. He plays hard. He’s physical in front of the net. He’s got a good stick.”"

That’s Siemens’ game in a nutshell, at least at the NHL level.

Duncan Siemens and the Colorado Avalanche

More from Mile High Sticking

I had always wondered why the Colorado Avalanche chose Duncan Siemens 11th-overall in 2012. That was the year they chose their captain, Gabriel Landeskog. Siemens didn’t seem like the type of player you choose so high in the draft.

In fact, in an NHL that wasn’t quite going to the light, fleet-of-foot style yet, Siemens stood out because of his mix of hard-nosed and fine skills. A big player even then — 6-foot-3, 192 pounds — he was known for being a rugged, shutdown defenseman. And, as both Barrie and Bednar noted above, he’s a physical player. However, he was also known for being a strong, smooth skater with a good transition game.

Universally he was predicted to go around the #10 slot, making Colorado’s selection pretty natural.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy for Siemens to make it into the NHL. Seven years, 10 NHL games.

As Bednar pointed out more than once, Siemens is “putting his best forward” with the intention of making the most of his chance. He also put forth how he thought Siemens could succeed:

"“When you buy into your role as a player, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to succeed in that role, then you have a chance. Dunc’s a real good team guy, and he’s playing his role to the best of his ability. Right now he looks great.”"

Bednar acknowledged the team was looking at “a small sample size” of Siemens’ NHL legs — six games so far this season. He went on to remark on the journey that Siemens went through to get this real shot with the Colorado Avalanche:

"“At the same time he’s coming in at an important time when the intensity is cranked up, when every play matters. We’re in this race, and he understands that. His experience that he’s gained over the last three, four, five years in the minors and being with us at times during the year last year and this year — that experience is helping him.”"

Siemens definitely seems bent on taking advantage of this shot. He remarked that “you never know when your last one’s going to be.” He was philosophical about the situation:

"“They’re giving me the opportunity. Everyone has a different path. For me it’s managing every game, every shift and making sure I take advantage of every opportunity I get.”"

For now, anyway, Siemens is enjoying his NHL time, especially with the Colorado Avalanche. He points out that the Avalanche has a “tight locker room.” He added, “I know the guys respect what guys go out there and do, whether it’s blocking shots or taking a hit to make a play. It’s just all part of being there for each other.”

Siemens went further into depth about the feeling in the locker room:

"“Right from day one when I got here they welcomed me with open arms. they make you feel like you’ve been here all year. Whether it’s getting in pranks on you — this morning guys throwing tape at you while people are talking to you. They don’t leave you in the corner by yourself to figure it out and just try to find your way in. They come get you and make sure you’re a part of it, make sure that everyone who walks through these doors feels welcome and a part of this thing.”"

Side note: That last part reminded me of Gabriel Landeskog’s Friends initiative — he’s stated that he wants to locker room to be that kind of inclusive space.

I’ve long been on the Duncan Siemens train, wanting the kid — now young man — to succeed:

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It’s going to be a tight competition for him to stay in the Avs lineup. Cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson is still out indefinitely, but Anton Lindholm is skating in practice — and has cleared himself to play anyway. The Avalanche also picked up defenseman Mark Alt on waivers.

I know this, though. Bednar rewards players who work hard and limit their mistakes. If Siemens keeps on playing the way he has been, he might finally have cracked the lineup.