It was just a few days into the new year at KeyBank Arena in Buffalo, New York when 20-year-old Tyler Steenbergen out of Sylvan Lake, AB did something incredible to bring his home country together with one simple move.
On January 5th during the World Junior championship Finals, the left-winger brought Canada to it’s feet in the final minutes of play against Rasmus Dahlin and the Swedes when he recieved a pass from Conor Timmins as the clock was counting down at the 1:40 mark and banked it into the net past goaltender Filip Gustavsson, giving head coach Dominique Ducharme not only another in-game victory but another gold medal as well to add to his collection.
Now just a matter of months later, Steenbergen, who has most recently seen time with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos, is officially set to begin the next portion of his career playing professional level hockey as he was signed to a three-year, entry-level contract by the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday afternoon.
Steenbergen, who currently weighs in at five-foot-10, 187-pounds, was drafted by President of Hockey Operations and General Manager John Chayka in the fifth round (128th overall) at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft held at the United Centre in Chicago, Il.
At this time as per club policy, the terms of his contract will remain undisclosed.
Taking a look at his 2017-18 season thus far in, Steenbergen, who was passed up for the first time at the 2016 NHL Draft, has put together a rather impressive season on the ice in hopes of accomplishing this feat as he has scored 44 goals while having recorded 54 assists to go alongside a total of 98 points in 51 games played. He has also racked up 40 penalty minutes as well.
Taking a look at some other records Steenberg has contributed to, he currently ranks third in the league in +/- with +52 under his belt while also standing at sixth in the entire WHL in points (98), tied for fifth in goals (44) and is tied for 11th in assists (54). Steenbergen also ranks second on the Broncos in goals, fourth in assists and third in points.
Steenberg also managed to earn a 199th ranking from Central Scouting among North American skaters, making his mobility an asset for the future when the time comes. As far as that goes, it can most certainly be accredited to the many hard hours of work he has put in to give himself this level of confidence in his natural talent, skills and abilities.
As for his career in the Western Hockey League, Steenberg has recorded 120 goals and 125 assists to go alongside 245 points in a total of 262 career games played. Steenbergen also adds 93 penalty minutes to his impeccable display.
Taking a look at his explosive sophomore season in 2016, Steenbergen recorded 51 goals and 39 assists in 72 games. In 14 games in the playoffs, he finished with 8 goals and 6 assists.
Much of this goes with many thanks to linemate and Finnish forward Aleksi Heponiemi as he has helped Steenbergen surpass 90 points, just shy of double his rookie production. While having slapped in 51 goals, he tied for the league lead and more than double his rookie total. Heponiemi currently lies in the Florida Panthers organization, drafted much earlier than Steenbergen at 40th overall.
Another positive to Steenbergen’s performance would be his extra time on the power play which could perhaps continue to be added to when he very likely joins the Tucson Roadrunners of the American Hockey League to start the 2018-19 season.
Steenbergen, who provides a solid lefty shot, has only seen continued improvement in recent seasons gone past and could certainly thrive in other areas of his game alongside a pair of new teammates which could certainly land him the call to the National Hockey League if his success rate continues to spike at the constantly rapid speed in which he has been seen producing himself at for the chance of a lifetime which he may now not be all so far away from come Opening Night in October when he moves forward to begin the next chapter of his life doing what he does best on the ice which evidently is playing hockey.