Michael Sdao (D-L, 6’4, DOB 1989, 7-191/09; contract: 620k/14)
2007-08 USHL Lincoln 53-3-6-9 +12 178pim (ppg 0.17) 5th d-pts
2008-09 USHL Lincoln 51-3-7-10 Even 162pim (ppg 0.19) 5th
2009-10 NCAA Princeton 30-5-4-9 -4 48pim (ppg 0.30) 4th
2010-11 NCAA Princeton 27-3-7-10 Even 65pim (ppg 0.37) 4th
2011-12 NCAA Princeton 30-10-10-20 -3 87pim (ppg 0.66) 1st
2012-13 NCAA Princeton 31-8-7-15 36pim (ppg 0.48) 1st
2012-13 AHL Binghamton 12-1-0-1 +4 23pim (ppg 0.08)
Picked out of the USHL as one of the best fighters in the draft (he was not ranked by Central Scouting), hes continued to improve the other parts of his game each year at Princeton. If his offensive game translates at all at the pro level he’s going to be a very pleasant surprise for Ottawa. Former coach Guy Gadowsky describes him:
He can really shoot the puck, and he’s in even better shape: he’s definitely stronger, he’s definitely quicker, and he’s as focused on becoming the best hockey player as he can possibly be. I won’t say he’s changing – he’s still going to be a tough, hard-nosed defenceman – but he can definitely shoot the puck.
Roman J. Uschak interviewed Sdao mid-season and he talked about his experience, saying he wants to continue working on his defensive game and is committed to graduate. His coach, Bob Prier, said:
More than anyone else I’ve coached, he wants to play at the next level. He’s definitely got the will, and an absolute bomb from the point. He’s also a great person, and his intangibles are terrific. … He’s an NHL prospect, and a good prospect.
This year Sdao did not beat his career highs from the previous season, but he remained the most important cog on his team’s blueline and still lead the back end in points. Signing an ATO with Binghamton, Sdao was easily able to push Ben Blood out of Binghamton’s lineup and play regularly. Here are some of his comments at this year’s development camp:
Now I’m a hockey player, I’m not a student anymore so it’s been good. It’s [the AHL] been great — every time you play against better players you become better too. It was definitely a good experience in Binghamton and it’ll be good heading into camp this year. I’m a physical defenceman, I move the puck and just try to keep it simple. I play a hard game, try to keep guys honest and just be a hard player to play against. It [today's testing] went well. All of my numbers improved from last year so it’s definitely moving in the right direction. I think [the numbers improved because of] working with Chris Schwarz and just working hard, being in the gym and getting the work done.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)