Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sibley excited to join young Sea Dogs team

SAINT JOHN - It took a while, but Brendan Sibley eventually became the Saint John Sea Dogs' top pick of the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft.

With no picks in the first or second round, the Sea Dogs had to wait until the third to make their first selection at Harbour Station. The Dogs made a minor swap with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada to move up a few slots from 55th to 52nd overall, taking Sibley.

"It's their first pick so I'm really excited and I'm really happy," said Sibley after meeting Sea Dogs management at the team's draft table. "I can't wait to get things going at camp."
Sibley was ranked 53rd by Hockey Prospect and 77th by QMJHL Central Scouting.

Sea Dogs president and general manager Trevor Georgie said his team of scouts followed their own list and rankings.

"We had them substantially higher than where they had slid to so we're thrilled with those picks," Georgie said of the team's first four selections - Sibley, Aiden MacIntosh, Max-Antoine Melancon and Lynden Breen. "We think all of those guys will be good young pieces moving forward with the Sea Dogs."

Sibley was one of fours players the Sea Dogs drafted from the Dartmouth Steele Subaru Major Midgets on Saturday. The 16-year-old d-man had three goals and 15 assists in 37 games with the club last season. He added a goal and seven assists in 11 playoff games.

The Dartmouth native was named to the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League's Rookie All-Star Team this past season.

Hockey Prospect wrote in their 2017 QMJHL Draft Guide that Sibley showed a lot of progress throughout the 2016-17 campaign.

"He’s a 200-foot player and usually the first man back to retrieve puck," wrote Hockey Prospect. "One of Sibleys’ strongest traits is his poise, he can protect the puck and make good decisions under pressure. He plays a physical style, and especially showed this during the playoffs, he’s tough to knock off his skates, has strong edges and can stop on a dime."

Hockey Prospect noted that d-man's skating has improved. Sibley said that is something he has worked on.

"I've been improving my skating the past couple years and I think to make it to the next level I can still make some improvements," Sibley said.

"I'd say I'm two-way defenceman. I'm good in the d-zone and I think I can pinch in on offence when needed."

It's likely Sibley will make the Sea Dogs next season as they transition to a significantly younger team. Thomas Chabot, Jakub Zboril and Simon Bourque are all likely to turn pro. Bailey Webster, David Comeau, Chase Stewart and Alexandre Bernier - all 1997-born - could return, but there will be competition for overage spots. Oliver Felixson's status is unclear at this time.

"I know they're going to be young," said Sibley. "They just had a good run to the Memorial Cup. I wouldn't say it's a rebuild, but they're going to be young but I think they'll still be good."

The Sea Dogs drafted just two defencemen on Saturday - Sibley and Zachary Leclerc. The team does have other d-men in their system - like Bryson Michel, Ian Smallwood and other past draft picks - who will compete for full-time roles at training camp.

"Everyone is going to get an opportunity," added Sibley. "There's going to be a lot of young guys. I'm going to work my hardest and see what happens."

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