Prospect Report: Ronan Seeley
Updated: Apr 19, 2020
Ronan Seeley has quietly been having himself a very solid season with the Everett Silvertips in the WHL. Seeley is a left-shooting natural puck moving defenseman, and is listed at 5’11 and currently weighs 176 pounds. Watching Seeley, it appears as if he’s a bit taller than that though, maybe a little over 6’0. Regardless, Seeley’s pace this season with 2 goals and 14 assists through 36 games is good for 3rd in scoring among WHL draft eligible defensemen. He sits only behind two-way force Braden Schneider and smooth skating Kaiden Guhle in the points department. I’ve only watched 4 of Seeley’s games start to finish, but I’ve seen enough of him while flipping through games to get a solid grasp on his skillset and play-style.
Seeley is your prototypical puck moving defenseman. He’s a strong skater, with great mobility in transition. Seeley’s also able to keep pretty tight gaps with his skating, and it’s rare for him to get beat straight up. He’s not overly physical in his own end, but most of the time he doesn’t need to be. He would rather win a board battle with his stick than by trying to body the other guy out. Overall, his defensive game isn’t lacking much. He’s mobile and active, and can usually keep up with top opposing lines. He reminds me a lot of Buffalo’s 2019 first rounder Ryan Johnson, just with a little less flash. My favorite part of Johnson’s game was his transitional play, and it’s the same with Seeley.
Seeley is most effective in the neutral zone. His quick skating and smooth hands allow him to evade forecheckers and move the puck up the ice with ease. He makes smart, simple passes that speed up the breakout. One part of his game that I love is that he always continues to skate up ice after he passes the puck. Seeley will make a play between his blue line and the red line, then continue to crash the net with speed. He becomes a key piece of the entry by doing this, and making another defenseman commit to him opens up so much more space for the forwards. There are lots of Everett 3 on 2’s that turn into 4 on 2’s because of Seeley. I have the most perfect example of this from one his games against Saskatoon:
He dangles through 2 forecheckers, lays the puck off to the winger. He then speeds up and cuts straight towards the net, occupying Saskatoon’s left defenseman in the process. This leaves Everett’s right winger wide open for an easy finish. Plays like these raise Seeley’s value tremendously. Here’s another great example of how active Seeley is in transition:
He reads the play at his blue line, and makes a simple pass up the boards, but also manages to occupy a forechecker. Seeley then drifts for a second and turns on the jets. He joins the entry like a 4th forward and one of his wingers actually recognizes this and drops back. They know when Ronan jumps in, he’s going to make a play. Seeley crashes the net and doesn’t get anything, but makes a second fly by and pots a rebound. The second fly by is rare for a defenseman. If they don’t get it on the first rush, they usually just skate back around the boards and into position. Both of Seeley’s goals this season have come off the rush, with the other one being a heck of a snipe:
Again, he starts the breakout, then follows the play closely. He ends up being the open trailer, and wires a shot top shelf. He’s really good in transition and is a true new-age NHL defenseman. Seeley can also be depended on to run a power play from the point. He’s a quick decision maker, and can deliver strong one-time passes. I compiled a few of his power play assists that exemplify this:
His shot is blocked, but he’s able to recover the puck quickly and distribute it to the winger. He gets it back, throws a nice fake shot, and delivers a crisp pass.
He keeps the puck in at the blue line, then rotates well with his winger. The puck comes back to him in the high slot, and he hesitates until the perfect moment. The pass is crisp, fast, and in perfect one-time position. This next clip speaks more towards his decision making than his passing, and I’m a big fan of it:
A lot of very good power play quarterbacks would have corralled that puck, and assessed their options. It’s a fine decision, but my philosophy is that when a rolling puck comes at you with that much space, you step into it and wire it. That’s exactly what Seeley did, and it led to a primary assist. Sometimes there’s a nice element of deception to his passing as well. Here’s a really nice primary assist example of this:
Seeley has his center as an option skating up the middle of the ice with speed, and the forechecker sees this and jumps towards the lane. Seeley waits for him to make the move, and once he does, he lays a simple pass to his winger for a much cleaner entry. It’s a simple misdirection, but it ends up leading to a goal.
Seeley has some real pro potential. Not necessarily as a top defenseman, but I could certainly envision him becoming a capable 2nd pairing guy. His skating ability and transitional play will be very enticing for a lot of teams come draft day, and Seeley could hear his name called as early as the late 2nd round.