Patrick Sieloff’s Twitter photo displays him sending Michigan Wolverines’ sophomore Derek DeBlois crashing to the ice with a big open-ice check, one of many bone-crunching hits the future University of Miami (Ohio) RedHawk has delivered to unfortunate opponents this season.
Though he stands at a relatively modest 6-foot, 194 pounds, Sieloff plays much bigger than his size and as DeBlois can attest, he packs a wallop.
“I don’t go out and look for [big hits], but when an opportunity is there I make sure that they feel it,” Sieloff says matter-of-factly.
Sieloff has developed a reputation for being a punisher this year and it’s a role he enjoys, although Sieloff admits that showing discipline as a physical player is important.
“Over the years I’ve learned that you don’t want to go out and look for the big hit, it’s more about timing,” Sieloff says.“Because the more you go out looking for it, the more you get caught out of position.I just learned to pick and choose my spots and when I go in, I make sure that I’m going to come out on top, get the puck and take the body.”
Other than as a fearsome physical player, Sieloff is perhaps best known as the defensive partner of potential top-five selection Jacob Trouba, with whom he’s been paired for the better part of the last six years.
The duo first met as members of Compuware and sure enough Sieloff followed Trouba to the U.S. National Team Development Program, which happens to be located just 15 minutes away from Sieloff’s Ann Arbor home.
It turned out to be the perfect situation for Sieloff, who has appreciated the extra comfort of living in a familiar environment.
“It’s a wonderful experience,” Sieloff says.“Two years have flown by.I think it’s partly because I didn’t have to adjust like lot of the other kids – I still live at home with my family and that’s helped me out a lot.”
Sieloff and Trouba form a shutdown duo for the USNTDP and although it’s Trouba that has drawn more attention from the hockey world, Sieloff has plenty of appeal as well.
Sieloff has become a solid defensive defenseman and impressed HP’s Director of Scouting Mark Edwards from the start.
“I liked him the first time I watched him and liked him more with each viewing,” Edwards says.“He plays a very smart steady game from the back end and moves the puck, making good decisions. Not an overly huge kid, but played plenty big. He has been a physical, steady presence whenever I have seen him. Patrick was one of our biggest risers in the fall.”
The tandem of Sieloff and Trouba has been together for an eternity in youth hockey terms, but though Sieloff admits that he simply feels more comfortable with Trouba, he’s been able to adapt to different situations in the past without a problem.
Though part of that is surely a result of Sieloff’s willingness to stay at home, Sieloff insists that he’s not afraid to join the rush from his blueline position. But with just eight points (three goals, five assists) on the season, it’s obvious that the attack zone isn’t his area of expertise.(For his part, Sieloff is self-deprecating about his offensive limitations, writing on his Twitter profile: “Offensive defenseman in practice but come game time slightly change my role!”)
And rather than try to do too much on his own, Sieloff prefers to let the development team’s impressive crop of forwards handle the offensive load.
“I don’t like rushing the puck as much as I like giving it to the forwards and letting them do the work,” Sieloff says.“I know my role and it’s not going to be scoring a lot of goals.”
Sieloff figures that makes the most sense for helping his team, which is what he’s concerned with first and foremost.
“If the team plays well together, your individual skill will come out and people will see that,” Sieloff says.
Besides which, Sieloff knows that by watching the play develop coming towards him he’ll have a better chance to dish out one of his trademark blasts that “at times that can change the momentum of the game.”