2021-22 Team: Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
Date of Birth: May 26, 2004
Place of Birth: Windsor, ON, CAN
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 185 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 79th (amongst NA skaters)
- FC Hockey: 96th
- Smaht Scouting: HM
- Peter Baracchini’s May Rankings: 79th
Grayden Siepmann played this past season as a 17-year-old in his second year with the Calgary Hitmen since they drafted him 13th overall in the 2019 Western Hockey League (WHL) Bantam Draft. He is a self-proclaimed offensive defenseman, and that proved true as he led the sub-.500 Hitmen in defensive scoring (25 points) and goals by a defenseman (nine goals).
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
His greatest asset is his skating. He has good agility and footwork and is usually decent on his edges. He uses it to his advantage in joining the rush to pull defenders to him and create separation. Additionally, he’s elusive with his skating and mixes in head fakes and other deceptive forms of body language to deceive defenders.
He has decent vision and anticipation in joining the play and finding open areas to send safe passes to. When he gains the zone, he is patient and able to establish control for his team, and he then can choose whether or not he wants to generate the offense himself by jumping into the play or pass off to a teammate to make a play. In the video tweeted below, he jumps into the play and cashes in on a rebound.
Siepmann doesn’t always get much power behind his passes or his shots, and a lot get picked off as a result. However, his shot does have decent potential. While he has decent hockey IQ offensively, he hasn’t shown a higher-end level of it, nor much creativity in his game. While he gets consistent power-play time and scored two power-play goals and eight power-play points, he isn’t too much of a threat for opposing teams at this point.
Despite scoring nine goals, his shot leaves a little to be desired. As previously mentioned, he doesn’t always get the most power on his shots. However, it isn’t for the lack of effort, as his 124 shots led Hitmen defensemen and were sixth on the team this season.
He was 17 years old this season, so he still has room to grow and mature physically. While he can defend fairly well at the WHL level, his lack of reach and strength could lead to a lot of trouble in defending opposing forwards at the NHL level. He also needs to display a bit more consistency, which should come with age and continued all-situational opportunity.
If he can’t translate his offensive ability to the power play at a higher level and can’t become a confident penalty-killing option, he’d have to find another niche to fit into to make himself valuable to an NHL franchise.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Grayden Siepmann – NHL Draft Projection
It’s difficult to project Siepmann’s draft spot because his skating is going to be very attractive to teams, but it could be a gamble to draft him relatively higher up. His lack of size and reach could have an inverse effect on his ability to defend at the higher level, and if his offensive abilities don’t come to fruition, he may not be able to make it at the NHL level. If a team really falls in love with his skating ability, he could go as early as the mid-fifth round or later.
He’s young and is going to be a project. He could be a mid-round project for NHL franchises, especially those building; looking at you, Arizona Coyotes and Seattle Kraken. He was listed as a C-prospect on the NHL Central Scouting 21-22 Preliminary Players To Watch List, which projects a prospect to be a fourth, fifth, or sixth-round candidate.
“I’m an offensive defenceman who likes to make good first passes out of the zone and join the rush. I also like to run plays from up top on the power play.” – Grayden Siepmann, as interviewed on the Hitmen Hockey website.
“Siepmann showed in his first season that he’s already a great special teams player- as on the penalty kill he made great plays all season long. He has great positioning and is calm and poised no matter what’s thrown at him. Defensively he is going to be really good next season but the question will be if he can develop his offensive game and become a two-way defender.” – Tyler Thode, Recruit Scouting ahead of this past season.
“As easy as it is to like his defending at this level you also have to wonder about how translatable it is, because he would likely have loads of trouble containing forwards at the NHL level due to a lack of reach and strength. If he’s unlikely to be a power play specialist or a penalty killing specialist, then carving out a consistent role for himself could be tricky. Siepmann should get selected somewhere in the middle of the draft, with whoever drafts him hoping that he’ll make the sort of career progress that someone like Jared Spurgeon made.” – from a March 6, 2022 scouting report, Derek Neumeier, FC Hockey
- Zone entries
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Pass and shot strength
- High-end offensive awareness/creativity
Siepmann’s NHL potential is dependent on his development before he makes the jump to the pros. If he can make significant improvements by the time he turns pro, he could become a bottom-pair/seventh defenseman who could be a secondary or tertiary asset on special teams. If he requires a lot more work after juniors, he could get buried by other prospects added over that time. If his career has a trajectory similar to that of Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon, he’d be in good shape.
Spurgeon was drafted in the sixth round, 156th overall, by the New York Islanders in 2008. He’s even more undersized than Siepmann but has carved out a well-respected career that includes five double-digit goal seasons from the Wild’s blue line. Now at 32 years old, he’s set his career-high in assists with 30.
His two-way play sees him relied on in all situations. He spent two more years in the WHL with the Spokane Chiefs following his draft year. He then played 46 games in the American Hockey League (AHL), split evenly between the regular season and playoffs, before becoming a regular NHLer. He, too, was a project, but one that came to fruition.
Risk – 4/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 5/10, Defense – 3.5/10
Siepmann was selected 13th overall by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft. He earned the “Top Defenseman” Hitmen team award this past season.
- Get To Know: Grayden Siepmann by Alex Medina, Hitmen Hockey website
Grayden Siepmann Statistics
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Sean Raggio lives for hockey. He will be covering the Seattle Kraken, and is a co-host of “What’s Kraken” for THW. Sean gained experience in writing for television, print and radio while studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and being an active member in the student media organizations there. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out on Twitter! A link can be found at the bottom of his articles, such as this one.