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Doan-mentored Kuefler signs NHL contract with New York Islanders

Daylan Kuefler, selected by the Kamloops Blazers (at the request of part-owner Shane Doan) 212th overall in the 10th round of the 2017 WHL Prospects Draft, signed with the Islanders last week
Daylan Kuefler signed last week with the New York Islanders.

Shane Doan saw something in Daylan Kuefler.

The New York Islanders see it, too.

Kuefler, selected by the Blazers (on the advice of part-owner Doan) 212th overall in the 10th round of the 2017 WHL Prospects Draft, signed with the Islanders last week, a three-year entry level deal worth US $82,500 per season in the minors and US $840,000 in the NHL that includes US $195,000 in signing bonuses.

“He’s the type of kid that will go down the ice, slash you in the back of the legs, you turn around, punch him in the head and he falls down and draws a penalty,” Doan told KTW in August of 2019.

“The next time he comes down the ice, he slashes you in the back of the legs, you turn around and punch him in the head, he drops his gloves and beats you up. The next time he comes on the ice, he completely ignores you and goes in and scores a goal.

“He literally does whatever it takes for his team to win. That’s his greatest quality.”

Kuefler, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound forward from Stettler, Alta., had a breakout season in 2021-2022, racking up 38 goals and 59 points in 65 regular-season games for the Blazers. He added 10 goals and 17 points in 17 playoff contests.

The overage left shot who turned 21 in February tallied 61 points, including 31 goals, in 54 games this season and tacked on three goals and seven points in 13 post-season games.

“It’s been a fun journey,” Kuefler told KTW on May 20 after practise at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre, his team preparing for the Memorial Cup tournament. “Obviously, a lot of credit to the Blazers and everybody here. Billets, coaches, teammates, family — there is a million people I could thank who have helped along the way.”

Daylan’s father, Mike, and Shane Doan played for the Killam Wheat Kings during the 1991-1992 campaign. Killam is about 80 kilometres north of Doan’s hometown, Halkirk, Alta, and about 115 kilometres southwest of Stettler.

Kuefler was invited to Arizona to live with the Doans and play for the Junior Coyotes during what turned out to be Doan’s final NHL campaign, the 2016-2017 season, which was also the 14-year-old forward’s bantam draft year.

Mike knew sending Daylan to Arizona might hurt his draft standing.

“That was the sacrifice he was willing to make to go and be with an NHL superstar,” Mike said. “How many kids can say they skated with NHL players? What a dream come true.

“The thing Shane said: ‘When he’s here, I will treat him like my own son.’ And you know what? He did. It’s pretty special.”

There are eight signed NHL prospects on the Blazers’ roster, including five who inked contracts this season, with Dallas Stars’ forward Matthew Seminoff among them.

“He deserves it so much,” Seminoff said of Kuefler. “He’s worked his ass off for so many years here and I’ve become really close with him, so it’s really cool to see it happen for him. He earned it.”

The Blazers will open the Memorial Cup with a game against the Quebec Remparts, a 6 p.m. start on Friday at Sandman Centre.

“I’m proud to be a Blazer and to have this opportunity,” said Kuefler. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who we play. We’ve got to beat everybody.

“But we’re going to be looking at Seattle, for sure. It would feel good to beat them after they’ve beat us the last couple years. It’s a second chance.”


Kuefler of the Islanders makes eight signed NHL prospects on the Kamloops roster.

The others are Seminoff (Dallas Stars), Ryan Hofer (Washington Capitals), Olen Zellweger (Anaheim Ducks), Fraser Minten (Toronto Maple Leafs), Logan Stankoven (Dallas), Caedan Bankier (Minnesota Wild) and Kyle Masters (Minnesota).