One of our most versatile young players had a record season. For a guy who rarely had consistent linemates until the end of the season, Colton Sissons performed a lot better than he was expected.
After a huge Western Conference Final and Stanley Cup performance in 2017, we were a little uncertain how and where Sissons would fit. Nick Bonino was brought in to fill the center depth, then Kyle Turris became the second line center who brought some bang to Kevin Fiala and Craig Smith.
Sissons flopped between center and winger, playing with Scott Hartnell (a guy who could easily be Sissons’ dad), Austin Watson, Miikka Salomaki, and Nick Bonino. Once Ryan Hartman was acquired, Sissons became a reliable linemate for Hartman.
Many folks were impressed with the Sissons-Bonino-Watson line during the playoffs. They were absolutely unstoppable against Colorado, but like the rest of the Predators, somewhat nonexistent against the Jets. What’s upsetting is that this particular line combination has the ability and talent to counter some of Winnipeg’s lower lines… but didn’t.
Sissons played in all but one game this season. He scored 9 goals and added 18 more assists for 27 points on the season. This was a career-high for the 24-year-old. Sissons also sat for 42 penalty minutes this season. He earned more ice time this year, averaging around 16 minutes per game, up from 10 minutes a game last season.
Sissons is somewhat like Calle Jarnkrok and can be added nearly any line in the lineup. He’s versatile, unafraid to lay down a few hits, and rather speedy. He doesn’t dish out pucks as well as Ryan Johansen, but he’s also not being paid to be a 1C. That talent will certainly develop as Sissons grows as a hockey player.
When Mike Fisher returned to the lineup, lots of fans were worried about where Sissons could/would play. Fisher was an inevitable center, and that pushed Sissons out to the wing. While he’s not singularly defined as either a center or a winger, it’s clear that he is versatile enough to play in whatever role he is needed. If that’s how you’re grading Sissons, then he performed admirably this season.
Here’s a beauty of a tap-in from Sissons in Round 1 against Colorado:
Here’s another goal against Colorado in the regular season. Sissons’ speed is evident here and he’s got his eye on the prize for that empty netter.
As mentioned above, the Sissons-Bonino-Watson line was rather impressive in the first round against Colorado, but they were basically nonexistent against Winnipeg. Sissons scored three goals and notched four assists in the playoffs. It wasn’t an awful showing, but it was average on a team expected to be above-average.
I suppose the worst moment came for Sissons in his postgame interview after Game 7. He was honest and genuine about the players in the locker room being disappointed.
Final Grade: B+
For a 4th line center and floating winger, Sissons had a spectacular season. He is learning patience as a centerman, floating nice passes to his teammates and taking smart shots.
Because we know how good of a center Sissons will be as he continues to grow, I’m giving him a B+ for the season. He has grown significantly as a player and I’m excited to see how he performs this coming season.
His lines are often relied upon to shut down formidable opponents. In most situations, Sissons and his linemates tend to split possession pretty evenly with the opposing team and usually don’t look like they’re chasing the puck. For a 3rd or 4th line guy, Sissons is incredibly talented.
Sissons will be due a new contract after the 2018-2019 season and could see a contract similar to Austin Watson’s.