The Colorado Avalanche bring Kiefer Sherwood into the fold. But, who is he?
The Colorado Avalanche have signed Kiefer Sherwood. Huh? I know, I know, thus far, the Avalanche have had a so-so last couple days. As of now, no huge splashes; but that’s fine. The NHL held its first-ever virtual draft on Tuesday, October 6th, and free agency opened on Friday, October 9th.
I’m not here to write about the draft, or go in depth about free agency; at least not in a broad sense. I want to talk about one signing in particular; Kiefer Sherwood. The Colorado Avalanche picked up the former Anaheim Duck, and signed him to a one year, two-way contract. I am excited about this guy coming to the Colorado Avalanche family, even if he’ll likely spend most of his time this season in Loveland.
I am writing about Kiefer Sherwood, because he is from Columbus, Ohio. It just so happens I had a unique experience in the city during 2015. I attended their All-Star Game festivities, and on the whimmiest of whims, I decided to enter a contest the Blue Jackets were holding. Amazingly, I won, and that summer (unrelated to my winning of course) Kiefer and his younger brother, Kole, were invited to Blue Jackets Development Camp.
The contest prizes were a ticket to Development Camp, a teeshirt, a pair of game-used gloves, and a seat to watch the show up close from the penalty box. I was in the middle of a break from doing a metric ton of research for my podcast, so I decided I’d cash in my winnings. Now, I won’t sit here and tell you I knew from the moment I saw Kiefer he was going to be something special, or I hoped one day he’d be an Avalanche, because I absolutely didn’t. Honestly, I was just thrilled to have won such a kooky prize.
I won’t call him out here, but I had a conversation with a goaltender with the same last name as a 90s MLB player. That conversation include him saying, “Yes, it’s pronounced____. No, I’m not related to____.” He must have gotten that question a lot. Now, I’m about to make this otherwise cool story super lame; I don’t remember much else of the specifics about Development Camp aside from it being a good time.
For whatever reason, however, Kiefer—only in name—jumped off the roster sheet to me. Perhaps it was nothing more than I was at Columbus’ camp, and he was the local kid. Anyway, afterward, his name stayed in my mind, but only in a on the back burner sort of way. Kiefer left camp without a contract.
So, what is Kiefer Sherwood’s hockey story then? Well, he was born March 31, 1995, making him just a few months older than our beloved Colorado Avalanche. For the 2009-10 season, Kiefer played for the Cleveland Barons Major Bantam team in the Tier One Elite Hockey League. In 31 games he netted four goals, added 10 assists, and managed to keep his nose clean; getting just one minor penalty.
For the next two campaigns of 2010-11 and 2011-12, he played with the Blue Jackets U16 team where he totaled nearly a point per game (74 points in 77 games). His 2012-13 year was a busy one. He played two games in the United States National Team Development Program, before having a banner season in the Blue Jackets AAA U18 program (28 goals and 19 assists in 34 games). He performed admirably in the AAA playoffs as well, and was drafted 99th overall in the 2012 USHL Entry Draft.
After being drafted, Kiefer Sherwood spent the next three seasons of his still young career with the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL. He saw very little ice time the first campaign, appearing in just nine games. In those nine games he managed two assists. The following season saw Kiefer bloom during his 55 games with 13 goals, and 19 assists.
His final season with the Phantoms was, of course, his best. He skated in 60 games, exploded for 29 goals and 27 assists, and even played with a bit of an edge as he earned 26 penalty minutes. His production fell off a bit in the team’s playoff run, getting a goal and an assist in four games. He then went undrafted in the NHL Entry Draft, and accepted an invitation to the CBJ Development Camp.
After not securing a contract, Kiefer Sherwood entered college at the University of Miami, Ohio where he played for the RedHawks for three seasons. Kiefer has stated in interviews (conducted by the Anaheim Ducks) the choice to pursue college helped him grow on-and-off the ice. Since the only thing I have in front of me are Kiefer’s stats, and not the man himself, I’d have to say he’s correct. From his freshman to his sophomore year, he performed a 20-point leap; no small task.
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His final season in college (a 30 point performance) was also his first taste of the professional ranks. He signed a contract with the Anaheim Ducks, and played 11 games for their AHL affiliate in San Diego. One thing I always hear players say when they take the next big step forward (high school to college, college to AHL, AHL to NHL) is how fast the game is; how much more difficult it is. Though Kiefer appeared in just those 11 games, as I mentioned, he adjusted fine and managed to find the back of the net twice.
As the 2018-19 season dawned, Kiefer Sherwood made the big club in Anaheim. On opening night he secured his first point, an assist, before going on to play a total of 50 games that season for the team. When the curtain fell on his time in the NHL, he had six goals, and six assists. If that doesn’t sound impressive, well, he also played 29 games for the San Diego Gulls (plus playoffs) where he had six more goals, and twelve assists; that’s a lot of hockey, and decent growth for a rookie.
Now comes the all important 2019-20 season, his most recent. In 37 games for San Diego, plus another 10 for Anaheim, he scored 16-7-23 and a lone assist respectively. So, why exactly am I excited about Kiefer Sherwood joining the Colorado Avalanche family? Though he’s 25 years old, I believe he’s going to be—if he isn’t already—a solid AHL right wing.
For now, he has but one year to prove himself, but I believe he’ll be able to help the Eagles with speed and scoring. Also, it never hurts to have depth at any position; he’s a great call-up who can play fourth line. I believe enough in the Colorado Avalanche staff that they can bring this guy along. Coach Bednar has a lot of experience with AHLers, and I feel he can crack the code on Kiefer.
Maybe if everything goes well enough, he’ll earn himself another contract or a permanent roster spot on Pepsi Center’s home bench.