#14: Kole Sherwood
14th out of 34 eligible players
Writers’ Vote: 12th
Readers’ Vote: 16th
Highest Placement: 6th (1 vote)
Most Common Placement: 17th (7 votes)
Birthdate: January 22, 1997
Birthplace: Columbus, OH
Weight: 202 lbs
Position: Right wing
Acquired: Signed as a free agent by Columbus, July 7, 2015.
Sherwood made his statistically uneventful NHL debut on February 16 of this year in Chicago and played again at home against Tampa Bay two days later before returning to Cleveland — between these two games, he recorded two shots (both against the Lightning).
However, his debut was significant for different reason: he is the first central-Ohio native to don the Blue Jackets uniform to start his NHL career.
Between the introduction of the Jackets’ AAA program and the newer development of Cam Atkinson’s Battery Hockey Academy, it seems likely that Sherwood could be the first of many homegrown young talents to emerge from the growing Ohio hockey development pipeline and rep his hometown in the NHL.
Despite the unassuming start, this young Columbus native demonstrated that he could produce for the Monsters last season, racking up 25 points (16 goals, 9 assists) in 56 games played — his momentum only increased as the season wore on, contributing to his February call-up to the Jackets.
With the future of the Jackets’ offense currently in limbo, now looks like a good opportunity for Sherwood to carve out his spot as an asset to the team’s lineup going forward. However, he’s going to need to overcome some difficulties that plagued him last season first.
The 2018-19 season did not start out as spectacularly as predicted for Kole Sherwood. The skilled skater and shooter struggled to make tight turns and form plays. It blew my mind when he wouldn’t lay massive hits or battle hard along the boards. This was not the normal Sherwood I was used to watching play.
It was clear management felt the same way as they sent Sherwood down to the Jacksonville IceMen for two games around Thanksgiving.
Sherwood took this demotion to heart. In his first two games back with the squad, Sherwood notched three points and laid multiple Andre The Giant sized hits.
As the season drew on, Sherwood became more aggressive and protected his teammates at all costs. Due to this fact, he was suspended twice. Both suspensions came after he got tired of the opposition taking runs at his teammates or saying highly inappropriate things.
Sherwood became the protector of the team while still lighting lamps. He was able to turn a frustrating start into something amazing. I can’t even imagine how great this upcoming season will be for him.