Between now and the start of the regular season, The Mack Report and The Eagle Tribune will bring you Q&A features with incoming Merrimack men’s hockey players ahead of the 2018-19 season.
Jordan Seyfert committed to Merrimack after having a breakout season with the North Jersey Avalanche in 2015. At the time, he was the youngest recruit in the Merrimack pipeline.
Now the ’99-born forward is entering his freshman season after two years in the USHL, including some time spent with the U.S. National Team Development Program.
After playing a smaller role on a Chicago Steel team in 2016-17 that was loaded and won a Clark Cup Championship, Seyfert took on a more offensive role in the USHL last season. In 55 games between Chicago and the Fargo Force, Seyfert finished with 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists). His offensive numbers popped after the trade, where he scored nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) in 15 games with the Force.
Over the course of his junior career, Seyfert also skated for USA Hockey at the Select 15, Select 16 and Select 17 camps for his age group and he was a third-round USHL pick by the Steel in 2016.
Mike McMahon: You committed a few years ago now, and I think you were one of the first kids to commit after the recent locker room project. What made Merrimack stand out when you were going through the recruiting process? I know from talking to the coaches at the time, they were going after you along with some other prominent schools, so what made Merrimack stick out?
Jordan Seyfert: “A lot of things have changed for me over the last few years, but Merrimack still always felt like home. But the thing that stood out to me the most was the small community. Everybody stuck together with one common goal and that’s improving everyone together.”
MM: What have the last few years been like? When you first committed you were with the NJ Avalanche and then the last two years in the USHL, what did you feel like you learned or improved over those two years in the USHL?
JS: “It was a really big learning curve, but it helped me improve as a player. When I first got out there, I was on the fourth line and then at the end of my time (in the USHL) I was on the first line and on the power play. There’s a lot of ups and downs, especially my first year. I played for a team (the Chicago Steel) that was unstoppable. We couldn’t lose. But because of that there were some older guys above me on the depth chart and I was on the fourth line. I wasn’t used to that, so there were some ups and downs. That experience taught me a lot.
“Now, coming to college at 19, I feel like I’m ready for it.”
MM: How would you describe yourself as a player?
JS: “I would say a hard-nosed skill guy. I like to get in on the forecheck and bang a few bodies around, even though I’m not as big. I can put the puck in the back of the net, too.
MM: Talking to a few coaches, both here and in the USHL, but I’ve heard comparisons to a guy like Marchand, a smaller guy with some grit, or even Brett Seney who was here.
JS: “You need a little bit of grit. I watched Seney when he was here. There are still plenty of areas of my game to improve. In juniors I played wing, I never played center, and growing up center was always my primary position. Hopefully I can play some center here, like Seney, but one thing I want to improve on is shutting down the opponent in the D zone. I know I can improve on how I close on pucks and ending the play as fast as I can.”
MM: Are there any other things, as you examine your own game, that you think you need to get to another level for college hockey? Everyone always says it’s faster and guys are stronger.
JS: “I think my speed can really help me. I’ve talked to a few guys who play college hockey and asking them about the differences and they do say it’s bigger, stronger and faster. If I can build my strength, that will help. With my size, I’m never going to be able to throw guys around, but I need to be as strong as I can be. Getting underneath guys, using leverage and protecting the puck is going to be huge for me. If you can’t get the puck, you can’t score. If I can keep my speed where I’m at, and improve on puck protection, I think that’s the biggest key for me.”
MM: How important are these few weeks in the summer? You get to see some guys, but also get in the weight room like you said and get some of the strength you were talking about.
JS: “It’s huge. You make the bond early, too. All of the freshmen are close already. If we can do that early, we can do something special.”