New Jersey Devils Prospect Spotlight: Damon Severson
By Kristin Tullo (@KToools)
The New Jersey Devils added to their already deep pool of defensive prospects by signing Damon Severson to a three-year entry-level contract. The eighteen year old Brandon, Manitoba native was selected in the second round, 60th overall, by New Jersey in the 2012 draft.
Finishing the season with seven goals and 30 assists, Severson also notched two goals in four playoff games. The eighteen year old Kelowna Rocket, who was part of the Canadian Bronze Medal team in the IIHF U-18 World Championship, is known for his stay-at-home style of play on the blue line. Though he has offensive upside, Severson will still need to find ways to balance his game before making into the NHL and has already taken strides in doing so last season while playing with the Kelowna Rockets. In an interview reported by Rich Chere of the Star Ledger following the draft, the young defenseman revealed his strengths and also what he needs to improve on.
“I’m a good forward skater and I try to get the puck on net as much as possible and work on my shots.”
It comes as no surprise that the Kelowna Rocket knows where hard work and dedication will get you. The reminder is a mural of Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and Tyler Myers, three former Rockets, on a wall outside of the team’s locker room. He told NHL.com prior to the draft, “I’ve just got to push myself as hard as I can to get to where they’re at now. It’s a long journey and a lot of hard work, but hopefully I can fill those shoes someday.”
As a part of a WHL organization known for developing elite blue liners, it will certainly help Severson reach the Devils organization in what he hopes to be two to three years. Having a coach like Scott Stevens help along the way doesn’t hurt either and according to Tom Gulitti of The Record, Severson seemed to notice that while he attended prospect camp in July with New Jersey.
” He’s got his number in the rafters in the rink and that’s the guy you want to be listening to when he’s telling you something.”
The talent of Severson, as well as other draft picks before him, Jon Merrill, Eric Gelinas and Brandon Burlon, was also not lost on the three-time Stanley Cup Champion and new assistant coach Scott Stevens, as he noted during camp that the Devils have never had this kind of depth in the defensive position before. This was a high compliment coming from a former captain that occupies the rafters with just two other players, both of them sharing time on the blue line with Stevens during their time on the Devils.
While the Devils may be set when it comes to their defensive units for the next couple of years, it leaves plenty of time for Severson to mature and be ready to take over the role of a player like fellow Manitoba defenseman, Bryce Salvador, who will be 39 years old when his contract is up in three years with New Jersey.