Kiefer Sherwood made his debut with the Anaheim Ducks this season, but with an influx of players vying for a roster spot, will there be room for him next season?
In March of 2018, the Anaheim Ducks announced that they had signed undrafted free agent, Kiefer Sherwood, to a two-year entry-level contract. No one thought much of it, assuming he would spend most of his contract playing for the San Diego Gulls. However, like a whirlwind, he came into Ducks Camp with something to prove, and he certainly did not disappoint.
His incredible performance during development camp earned him a spot on the Anaheim Ducks roster during their season opener against the San Jose Sharks. Although he only had 12 points on the season, including six goals, Sherwood spent more time with the big club than any of the other rookies who played beside him on opening night.
Why did he stay when players like Troy Terry, Sam Steel, and Isac Lundestrom were sent down? As an undrafted player, he had to work twice as hard as his teammates to prove that he belonged in a league as prestigious as the NHL. Sherwood put in the work, it showed, and it paid its dividends.
However, what was most memorable about KS64 was the energy he brought to a team who lacked enthusiasm. His goal celebrations were the best, even when he wasn’t the one scoring the goal. While he may not have been scoring goals every night, he brought passion and vibrancy to the ice that would not have been there had he spent his season in the AHL.
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Even after being sent down to play with the San Diego Gulls, he continued right where he left off in Anaheim. 18 points in 29 games is not going to earn him any accolades, but he became a driving force on the team. He spent every game encouraging his teammates to do their very best and standing alongside them when they deserved to be celebrated.
He has been a valuable asset to the Gulls in the playoffs as well, and they’ve only played one game. His two goals, including his game-winning goal, against the San Jose Baraccuda, propelled San Diego to win Game 1 in overtime. There is no question that he can be effective in both the AHL and the NHL. However, there is a question as to whether or not there will be room for him on the Anaheim Ducks roster next season.
Can the Anaheim Ducks Make Room for Kiefer Sherwood?
The good news for Kiefer Sherwood is that he has proven that he can be versatile. He has been bounced around between playing left wing and right wing all season. Regardless, the Anaheim Ducks would need to do some major shuffling and possibly make a few unnecessary trades to make room for him in the lineup.
Carter Rowney could be a possible trade in the offseason to make room for the incoming youth. However, even if Rowney is sent packing, the Anaheim Ducks still won’t likely be able to make room for Sherwood. Nick Ritchie is another name that fans like to throw around, and while he may not be on the Anaheim Ducks trade block, allowing him to hone his skills with another franchise could do some good for the young power forward as well as create room for Sherwood. However, this trade is still very unnecessary.
The other issue is that with the incoming of Devin Shore during the 2018-19 season, the Ducks already have a player that plays the same style of hockey as Sherwood, but with more experience. At the beginning of the season, KS64 was compared to Andrew Cogliano, but with more of an upside. However, when Cogliano was sent packing to Dallas, Shore came in and exceeded expectations.
The Anaheim Ducks could certainly think about trading Shore as well, but he became a key ingredient to their success near the end of the season. This alone makes Sherwood expendable. The only difference between him and Shore comes down to dollars and cents. Unless Bob Murray has a few tricks up his sleeve, the fact of that matter is, Kiefer Sherwood will likely spend most of his season with the San Diego Gulls next year.
The only way I see that changing is if he impresses the coaching staff yet again during development camp and proves during the first few games of the season that he is indispensable to the roster. We can only hope the best for young Kiefer Sherwood, and whether or not he makes the team next season or not, we will cheer for him either way. Regardless of where he ends up, another season filled with his celly’s will continue to bring joy to the hearts of Ducks Nation.
Do you think we will see Kiefer Sherwood back with the Anaheim Ducks next season or will he spend his season with the Gulls? Let us know your thoughts on this complicated situation by leaving us a comment below.