Sundher ready for Royal roll

Kevin Sundher is a smooth, and dare I say, vastly underrated center. Often lost in the shuffle is the fact that, along with being efficient at the dot, he bested all Sabres prospects last season with 52 assists.

In a season when Luke Adam won AHL rookie honors, Brayden McNabb dominated western sheets, and Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno played in the World Junior Championship, Kevin Sundher quietly put together the prospect stable's most productive point-streak in February (19 points over 11 games).

Boasting loads of junior experience, the speedy B.C. native enters 2011-12 poised to leave the WHL on a high note. The Victoria Times Colonist recently profiled the former third-rounder as he prepares to lead the Royals relocation charge from Chilliwack.

“I’m not a huge guy [six-feet, 188 pounds], so I’ve got to be quick. But I feel I’ll be ready to play pro after another year of seasoning in junior,” said Sundher.

The aim is to start in Buffalo’s minor-pro system next season and not have to return for a 20-year-old junior campaign in Victoria.

“I want to move on after this season.”

Sundher admits to being wide-eyed last year in Buffalo camp.

“They sat me next to [Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender] Ryan Miller in the dressing room,” Sundher recalled.

“These guys [NHLers] can do special things but you see that they are human, too, and make mistakes like everybody else. I took a lot out of that experience.”

Because Sundher’s dad played hockey, he put him into it when Kevin was just a sapling. But he also wanted his son to experience an individual sport. With a black belt in karate, Sundher can hold his own.

Sundher is quite intelligent, and it's of no surprise that he holds a martial arts black belt given his excellent agility, shiftiness, and hand-eye coordination. You see the package at work when he enters corners and dishes the puck at speed.

After posting 76 points (24+52) a year ago (a 25% increase over his draft year), it'll be interesting to see what the talented pivot can produce with Ryan Howse, Roman Horak, and Brandon Manning graduated to the pros. Sundher's shot and work ethic looked better at d-camp, so I'm comfortable forecasting a 12% increase in production this season. That would put him at 85 points, a very reachable number for a player of his skill set.
Next Post »