Per the The St. Catharines Standard, Niagara defenseman Drew Schiestel is using the entire ice to make his impact felt down the stretch. The article contains the three word concept that Sabres scouts have been stressing since bringing him aboard - keep it simple. With added strength and game exposure, the credo is one that should lead the Hamilton native to good things as a pro given his skill set.
The mobile defenceman’s biggest assets are his skating and ability to move the puck, create scoring chances and jump into the play. On the other hand, Schiestel is a defenceman which means he must take care of things in his own end first, then worry about offence. “It’s just an issue of keeping things simple and then, when you get your chances, especially on the power play,” you make them count,” Schiestel said. “You can play well defensively and still capitalize on your chances on the power play.” Schiestel, a 19-year-old Hamilton native, ranks eight among OHL defencemen in scoring with seven goals and 44 points in 49 games. Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires leads all rearguards with 17 goals and 68 points. “I understand that every defenceman needs to play good defence, but what got me to this point is jumping into the rush, picking my spots and moving the puck well,” said Schiestel, who ranks third on the IceDogs in scoring, one point behind Matt Sisca and five in arrears of Andrew Agozzino. “I got drafted (by Buffalo) for that and can’t just take that out of my game. I’ve got to keep that in there and utilize it.” With Alex Pietrangelo concentrating on his defence — he’s gone 14 games without a goal — Schiestel is clearly the man when it comes to Niagara defencemen leading the rush. “We’ve told him we trust him to make the proper decision to decide when to go and when not to go,” Niagara general manager Dave Brown said. “We don’t have a red light or anything like that. We’re trying to get them to educate themselves.”