It’s an interesting time of year for NHL teams. Although many organizations are still in a fight to stay in the playoff picture, others are picking up the pieces after the trade deadline and building toward a brighter future. In the case of the Anaheim Ducks, it is the latter. Even though they are out of the playoff hunt and the trade deadline has passed, the Ducks are still in pursuit of players that can improve their team.
In this case, it’s signing free agent college and major junior players whose seasons have ended (or are nearing their ends) and are ready to make their jump to the pros. This season the Ducks have signed one free agent so far. Meet Bryce Kindopp, current captain of the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips and the Ducks’ newest prospect.
Kindopp Shines in Lloydminster on His Way to Everett
Kindopp hails from Lloydminster, Alberta, where he excelled in the final year of his bantam eligibility —to the tune of almost two points per game— enough for the Silvertips to select him in the 2014 WHL Draft.
As it does with many players selected after their final year of bantams, it took Kindopp a couple of seasons of midget hockey before he solidified his spot in the Silvertips lineup in 2016-17 as a 17-year-old.
Kindopp Breaks Out With the Silvertips
Though Kindopp had skated with Everett in a combined 64 games in his first three seasons with the Silvertips holding his rights, it wasn’t until his 18-year-old season when he started to make an impact.
Through 72 games, Kindopp scored 24 goals and added 12 assists in the regular season and another five points through 22 games in the WHL Playoffs. He doubled his point output in the following regular season and the playoffs, and this season, as captain, he’s already reached his career-high point output of 74.
In 2019-20, he leads the WHL in game-winning goals, so he’s got the clutch ability as well.
To hear local Everett journalist Nick Patterson talk about it, Kindopp’s numbers have increased in lockstep with his maturity.
Kindopp has always been a player who contributes well beyond the box score, with his dedication to the defensive side of the game and willingness to slot into any role asked. He’s always been a player who can’t be evaluated based on one viewing but needs to be seen at least a dozen times to truly understand the contributions he makes because he doesn’t have much flash to his game, but he plays the game right. And the past two seasons the offensive production followed, culminating in a 39-goal campaign in 2018-19.(from Patterson: Tips’ Kindopp a prime example of player growth in WHL‘ The Herald, 6/27/2019)
Unfortunately for Kindopp, NHL teams passed him over three times in his three years of draft eligibility, but the Ducks are hoping they’ve found a diamond in the rough.
What to Expect From Kindopp?
Kindopp sounds like a very coachable player with leadership ability and an increasing ability to score. He’s a strong skater and isn’t afraid to spend time in front of an opponent’s net, nor does he struggle to score when he’s there.
Here’s a taste of what he’s done in the WHL:
Kindopp attended the Colorado Avalanche’s training camp to start this season on an amateur tryout. Although he didn’t make the team, that first taste of NHL experience can only help him with the Ducks.
Kindopp signed his entry-level deal effective in the 2020-21 season, which means we will not see him until next season. His timeline will probably consist of playing with the Ducks in a rookie tournament in September, followed by NHL training camp.
It’s hard to predict precisely where Kindopp will end up next season. As a right-wing, he’s already behind Danton Heinen, Jakob Silfverberg, Kiefer Sherwood, Carter Rowney, and Troy Terry on the depth chart. There isn’t a lot of right-wing depth on the San Diego Gulls currently and depending on where some other Ducks prospects end up when they start their pro careers next season, it’s reasonable to think Kindopp could make the AHL roster.
Regardless of where he plays next season, Kindopp is a valuable piece for the Ducks organization that comes with an upside. The Ducks didn’t have to use draft capital to add him to their organization, and he will at least help provide depth in their system. At best, he could break out and give an extra boost in the Ducks’ rebuild.