Danny Syvret likes math. If there's no other single thing I will ever remember about Danny Syvret, its that he likes math. I know this because TSN does a feature on a lot of Canadian players at the World Juniors, and Syvret was one of them. TSN then runs these features about 100 times during the course of the tournament, so you get to know the players pretty well. Anyway, Syvret's feature starts off and the first words out of his mouth are 'I like math,' which, coming from a hockey player is relatively shocking. As I recall the basic point was that Syvret liked trigonomics and was a bit of a nerd, but despite that was the Captain of the London Knights, which at the time were about the hottest thing in Major Junior, arguably in all of hockey, since the NHL was 'on a break' that year. (Hockeygirl: Dion's feature was about how he liked woodworking).
Anyway, Danny had a real good tournament. He's the kind of defenceman you never really notice - there's nothing fancy about his game, but his positional play is very strong, and he's got good on ice sense. Of course he was on an awesome team, maybe the greatest ever seen at the World Juniors, but he managed to score Canada's gold medal winning goal, and then helped lead his Knight's team to a Memorial Cup victory. (Oh, and Pierre just mentioned he was Canadian Major Junior Defenceman of the Year.)
So it was with a little suprise from me that Syvret wasn't drafted until the 3rd round in his second year of eligibility. That's just the way it is I guess with small defenceman, but I still feel that if I was a drafting team I would have chanced it on Syvret a little earlier than 81st overall.
He didn't crack the Oiler's lineup at the beginning of the season, but did play for Canada in a silver medal effort at the Spengler Cup in December. But thanks to MA Bergeron being traded, and injuries to Tjarnqvist, Gilbert, Roy, Syvret is finally playing in the bigs.
And I have to say, I'm impressesd.
He hasn't delivered any thunderous body checks yet, but he's been playing a regular 3rd pairing shift, and he has been the better half of said pair. He's bailed out Greene several times in the past few games (which I guess is a pre-requisite for the position). Syvret has virtually never been out of position defensively, and has had several nifty plays.
One that comes to mind came against Calgary last Saturday night. With the puck dumped in to about the hash marks in the Edmonton zone, there was a race between Syvret and Lombardi for the puck. Now, obviously Syvret started out closer, but I've seen many defenceman beat by Lombardi for long end loose pucks this year, and if there's one type of player I would expect Lombardi to beat, it'd be a 3rd pairing defenceman in about his third NHL game. However, Syvret calmly identified his threat, and with his back turned, played a little interference, effectively blocking any chance Lombardi had to take the puck. I think thats a pretty good illustration of Syvret hockey.
If that's the kind of defensive effort the Oilers can look forward to in the future, then the future looks good.