The Red Deer Rebels picked defenceman Christoffer Sedoff of Finland (left) in the 2019 CHL Import Draft. The blueliner suited up for Finland at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer last summer. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Rebels pick Finnish defenceman in CHL Import Draft

The Red Deer Rebels looked to the blueline at the CHL Import Draft.

With the 25th overall selection, Red Deer selected 2002-born left defenceman Christoffer Sedoff of Finland. The rearguard, listed at six-foot, 184-pounds, played for HIFK Helsinki B last year. In 20 games at the Finish Junior A level, he recorded three points in 32 games.

“He’s a guy that NHL teams are very aware of and will be looking to come watch playing for our team this year, so we’re thrilled to pick him where we did,” said Rebels assistant GM Shaun Sutter.

“He’s a real smart player. He’s a competitive player and he defends real well. He can be a hard guy but he’s smart with the puck and makes a good first pass. He’s still developing strength and is still growing… there’s some upside to his game, but he’s not a guy you have to push.”

After all the mystery surrounding the 2019 CHL Import Draft, Sutter noted that they are 100 per cent confident Sedoff, who is eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, will report to Red Deer in August. That addition will help fill the void left by 19-year-old Russian defenceman Alex Alexeyev, who will likely start the year with the AHL’s Hershey Bears.

The Rebels first saw the defensive defenceman at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer where he played four games for Finland. From there, they mostly followed his development from afar.

Sedoff has played 23 games internationally for Finland, recording two assists. The up-tempo, yet physical style of play of Finland’s national program is also something the Rebels coaching staff was interested in with Sedoff.

“For Finish players, with the way they play, the transition is very smooth because they play a certain style and we’re excited to get a guy who will fit right in,” said Sutter, adding Sedoff played in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup as an under-age player.

“Like any young player, he’s going to have adjustments to make. He speaks some English, he’s had real good coaching.”

As a 17-year-old, Sedoff should fit in with a strong core group of 2002-born players that includes Chase Leslie, Ethan Rowland, Dallon Melin and Jordan Borysiuk along with 2003s Jayden Grubbe and Kyle Masters.

“He fits in now and in the future, with some of the good players we have coming up in our organization. We have some real good young players and a real good core that we’re hoping we can build around. So we’re pretty excited,” added Sutter.

The Rebels are still awaiting word on the return of 2018 import pick, Oleg Zaytsev.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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