By Scott Billeck
The Winnipeg Jets have agreed to terms with defenceman Brenden Kichton on a three-year, two-way, entry level contract with an average annual value of $620,000.
Kichton, 21, played in 71 games with the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League last season. In that time, the left-handed defenceman recorded 85 points (22G, 62A) and 30 penalty minutes. At the end of the 2012-13 season, he was named the WHL’S Top Defenceman and awarded the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy.
The Spruce Grove, AB native played five seasons with the Chiefs for 333 career games, 268 career points (67G, 201A) and 143 career penalty minutes. Kichton has also suited up for 42 playoff games with Spokane for 19 career playoff points (3G, 16A) and 12 playoff penalty minutes.
Kichton comes in at 6-foot, 190 pounds. He has excellent defensive prowess and despite his size, goes to the dirty areas of the ice, and plays a smart defensive game. He has been liken to Brian Campbell of the Chicago Blackhawks for his ability to quarterback the power play unit.
“A lot of people call me a late bloomer, but I don’t think that’s right,” said Kichton in an interview with Yahoo after being drafted this past July. “I just never had the opportunity to put up big points in my first two years in Spokane. I mainly sat on the bench those years. In my third year I got the opportunity and that’s when I started to really make an impact.”
Kitchton was originally drafted by the New York Islanders in the fifth round, 127th overall, in the 2011 NHL Draft. He was then drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the seventh round, 190th overall, in the 2013 NHL Draft.
“I want to prove them wrong,” said Kichton about the Islanders. “You never want to be doubted and I guess they didn’t believe in me. I want to make an impression and go on to have a good career with them (Winnipeg).”
(With files from the Winnipeg Jets)