Damon Severson is more than aware about the expectation that comes with being a draft eligible defenseman for the Kelowna Rockets.
Severson doesn’t have to look too hard to see aspirations are high. So are his.
In a city that has produced some of the best young defensemen in the National Hockey League, Severson admits he’s modeling his game after those that have come before him in Kelowna.
“Ex-Rockets Shea Weber and Duncan Keith,” said Severson, slotted 32nd in Future Considerations ranking for March. “Weber’s got a big body presence and he likes to hit. I try to play as much as him as possible.”
So what kind of blend of Weber and Keith make? Severson is hoping to showcase that one on the strength of his own style.
“I’m more of an offensive defenseman, I try to play at both ends of the rink,” the six-foot-two, 198-pound defenseman said. “I try and integrate the offense as much as possible, I feel I have the offensive instincts.”
Severson’s game has definitely taken an offensive turn. After four goals and 17 points in 64 games last season, the Melville, SK. product has six goals and 31 points in just 48 games this year.
While the point increase certainly comes with a year of maturity, the biggest reason for Severson’s growth comes from months of hard work over the summer.
“I definitely worked a lot harder this summer and get bigger and stronger,” Severson said. “I got stronger over the off-season. I felt that this year I had to bring a little more presence on the ice with my body and be more physical. I felt like last year I was a little soft in my own end and a little soft on the ice.”
The hard work has paid off. Severson has continually climbed up the draft charts and earned himself an appearance at the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Conveniently enough, Severson’s own Prospera Place in Kelowna hosted the game.
“It made it ten times better to play it in front of my home fans in my home arena,” said Severson, who finished the game with no points and an even ranking in his team’s loss to Team Orr.
It’s an event that neither Keith nor Weber got to participate in during their draft year.
Which means Severson could be the next big thing on the blueline to come courtesy the Kelowna Rockets.
With files from Salim Valji