Sissons, Salomaki Making an Impact
By Jason Karnosky
Considering their names and backgrounds it’s hard to believe there is much in common between Milwaukee’s standout rookies Colton Sissons and Miikka Salomaki.
Yet, these two first year professional forwards from separate continents play a similar style on the ice, while their impressive and still developing talents are playing a big role in the Admirals’ success the season.
“There is no shortage of effort for either of us,” said Sissons, who leads the Admirals and ranks ninth among American Hockey League rookies with 26 points this season. “We’re both young guys and we are both brand new to this level, but it’s been nice having (Miikka) performing right by my side. So I guess you could say (we are brothers from another country) for sure.”
Canadian born Sissons represents one of Nashville’s most prized prospects and the center has all the tools to be successful in the National Hockey League. The 20-year-old is built with good size (6-1, 194 lbs.) and strength, and plays with tenacity plus an offensive flair as his team leading 15 goals can attest to.
“Colton Sissons is just a complete player,” Admirals coach Dean Evason said. “He’s very wise (for his age) on and off the ice.”
Right from training camp Sissions’ Milwaukee teammates noticed the North Vancouver, British Columbia native’s maturity.
“I think the biggest thing you see out of guys that have success immediately at this level is just their level of professionalism,” Admirals captain Scott Ford said. “Colton, especially, has that and really carries himself well. He dresses well and acts like a true professional. People don’t believe it when I tell them that he’s just 20 years old.”
And it does not hurt that the newly minted 2014 AHL All-Star (Milwaukee’s only representative heading to St. John’s February 11-12) is always looking for ways to improve his game and soak up everything he possibly can in his first season.
“It’s been a great first year,” said Sissons, who racked up 28 goals and 67 points in juniors with the Kelowna Rockets last season. “I’ve been getting plenty of opportunities and have been performing pretty well, getting off to a quicker start offensively than I anticipated. I’ve struggled at times with handling the three games in three nights and (logging the big) minutes, but I’m getting accustomed to it and really enjoying my time here.”
Meanwhile, Salomaki represents another in a long line of talented Scandinavian prospects brought in by Nashville to work their way up through Milwaukee en route to a career in the NHL.