Matthew Seminoff is ascending.
The right-shot forward who turns 18 on Dec. 27 is tied for second in Kamloops Blazers’ scoring, with 28 points, including 12 goals, in 20 games — career-high numbers coming in his NHL Draft campaign.
“The challenge in juniors is to try to accelerate that curve — it’s how much better can you get and how fast?” said Shaun Clouston, head coach of the Kamloops Blazers.
“The players who are really determined, have a high work ethic, a high level of commitment and determination and willingness to figure out a way to get better, they seem to do that — and Semi is a guy who is incredibly committed to getting better.”
NHL Central Scouting awarded Seminoff a C rating on Oct. 19 on its preliminary players-to-watch list, denoting he could be a fourth-, fifth- or sixth-round selection in the 2022 NHL Draft.
He seems likely to improve on that grade when the scouting service releases its mid-term rankings in January.
Seminoff has excelled playing on the club’s top line with Logan Stankoven and Josh Pillar, NHL-drafted prospects who are first and tied for second, respectively, in team scoring.
“We’ve got a lot of talented players and that’s what makes our team so good,” said Seminoff, whose Blazers (17-4-0-0) are second in Western Conference standings.
“We have so much depth and so many guys who can contribute. Everyone gets recognition on our team. I wouldn’t feel I look for that or crave that.”
Seminoff was born in Leesburg, Virginia, where his father, Ryan, had taken a job in the homebuilding industry. The Seminoffs moved to the Lower Mainland area, where Ryan’s family is from, when Matthew was six.
Seminoff was selected by the Blazers in Round 5 of the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft.
The former Burnaby Winter Club forward has family in Kamloops and his late great-grandmother, Verna Seminoff, is memorialized on a plaque on a bench on Hole 4 of Kamloops Golf and Country Club.
“She was a big golfer and big part of the club,” Seminoff said. “I was just golfing there for the first time this summer. To see that bench and that monument for her was pretty special.”
Kamloops fell 4-3 to the visiting Kelowna Rockets and 3-1 to the hometown Vancouver Giants this past weekend, marking the first time this season the Blazers have lost back-to-back games.
Seminoff and company will be aiming to get back on track on Wednesday, when the Giants come to town. Game time is 7 p.m. at Sandman Centre.
“We can go all the way,” Seminoff said.
“That’s the goal for any season, but if we’re playing our game, it’s going to be tough for a team to beat us four times. We have our sights set high, so we’re pretty excited to just keep it going this season.”