Our annual Top 25 Under 25 countdown has begun! The rankings were determined by a combination of reader voting and our staff’s own voting. We then combined the reader rankings (50%) and the staff rankings (50%) to determine the top 25. To be eligible for the countdown, a player must be 24 or younger on October 3, 2018, when the 2018-19 NHL season begins.
We’re taking a look at the best and the brightest in the Los Angeles Kings organization in our sixth annual Top 25 Under 25 countdown. Coming in at #21 is Chaz Reddekopp.
Age: 21 (January 1, 1997)
2017-18 Team: Victoria Royals (WHL)
2017-18 Statistics: 46 GP, 7 G, 24 A, 31 P (Playoffs: 11 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 3 P)
Jewels Reader Ranking: 24
Jewels Staff Ranking: 24
Last Year’s Ranking: 19
Defenseman Chaz Reddekop slipped in the rankings a little from last year. The 187th overall pick appeared poised to potentially jump to the Ontario Reign but was ultimately returned to the WHL for an over-age year.
Ryan Cowley of Cali Sports News equated the young blue liner to a Matt Greene type — a player known for his toughness, who isn’t afraid to get into the so-called “dirty” areas. Reddekop earned a contract last year by showing marked improvement over his previous two years in juniors. His points per game did slide a little bit from .84 in 2016-17 to .67 PPG in 2017-18. However, that number is in line with his career average with the Victoria Royals. His offensive numbers may not tell the whole story and how much was affected by a mid-season upper body injury is unclear. As Cowley notes,
[O]ne of Reddekopp’s biggest strengths is his passing game.
For a blueliner known to get his hands dirty, the 21-year-old has also shown over the course of his junior career that he has what it takes to get the puck out of harm’s way. Additionally, due to said passing game, Reddekopp has established himself as a reliable playmaker as his 24 assists in 46 games this season attest. Having the ability to fool the opposition when carrying the puck has also attributed to the defenseman’s numbers.
With the re-signing of Alex Lintuniemi, Reddekop finds himself facing some steep competition for a regular spot on Ontario’s blue line. Steve Johnson, Matt Roy, Austin Strand, Kurtis MacDermid, and Stepan Falkovsky make for a crowded D-corps. That’s not to mention the uncertainty surrounding Paul LaDue, Oscar Fantenberg, and Kale Clague. Assuming LaDue is a virtual lock for the big team, that leaves only one NHL spot for Fantenberg or Lintuniemi to claim in camp. The wild card in all this is Jacob Moverare, who will be turning 20 years old in a week. The young Swede is set to join the Reign after finishing his OHL career with the Mississauga Steelheads, and could squeeze Reddekop out of a top-six spot with the Reign.
As always, it all comes down to camp where we will find out who will reign supreme. Pun totally intended.