As the dust from the OHL trade period settles, the St. Catherines Standard ran a follow-up earlier in the week regarding Drew Schiestel remaining with the Niagara Ice Dogs despite various rumors in the weeks heading up to deadline.
"It's my last year in the league. I went in there and told them I was open to anything. I told them if it benefits you guys and it gives me a chance to win, I'd take it." Many of the 19-year-old's thoughts were formulated during the team's recent seven-game losing streak, including six losses before the Christmas break and one after. "Now, after Christmas, we've been playing pretty good and I'm happy with the decision," the Hamilton native said.With Schiestel staying put, the 19-year old will combine with Alex Pietrangelo (STL) to steady the blueline as the sixth-place IceDogs eye a spot in the playoffs.
In 38 games, Schiestel sits eighth in scoring among OHL defencemen with three goals and 35 points. He feels he has played much better since a nagging shoulder injury healed. "On the whole, I've been having a pretty good year and I've been happy with the way I've been playing the last 1 1 /2, two months." The Sabres have yet to give Schiestel any indication of their plans for him. "I'd like to continue to play well, sign that contract at the end of the season and be with their AHL affiliate next season in Portland." IceDogs head coach Mario Cicchillo is sticking with the prediction he made last season that Schiestel would be in the NHL within three years. "He skates so well, he anticipates so well. I tell the younger guys to watch Drew when he kills penalties." To get to the NHL, he needs to get stronger physically. "As he matures, he is going to get a lot stronger," Cicchillo said.