After playing his last game in Mississauga on April 1, 2007 – before shifting to Niagara with the team – came the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, where Schiestel was selected 59th overall in the second round by the Buffalo Sabres.
The young defenseman continued his OHL career for two more seasons with the Niagara IceDogs, playing in 131 games in that stretch. Eighteen goals, 67 assists and 115 penalty minutes later – including a career high 75 penalty minutes in the 2008-2009 season – saw his OHL career come to an end.
But with every end comes a new beginning, right?
And so it was, as Schiestel began his AHL career in 2009-10 with the Portland Pirates, the Buffalo Sabres’ farm club at the time. He appeared in his first AHL game October 3, 2009 as the Pirates took on the Springfield Falcons. Schiestel scored his first career AHL goal a short time later; it was the game-winner in a 4-2 win over the Norfolk Admirals on November 21, 2009.
It was all great. Schiestel was even named to the Eastern Conference AHL All-Star Team - until he suffered a season-ending knee injury in January 2011. Months of struggle and rehabilitation proved successful as Schiestel was able to suit up for this year’s season with the Sabres’ new AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans.
That is until October 8, when he suffered a second-degree sprain of the MCL in the first game of the season, against his hometown Hamilton Bulldogs. He missed eight games with the injury.
In 36 games this year with the Amerks, Schiestel has two goals and eight assists. He hasn’t made it to the NHL yet, but a plethora of talented young defenseman in the Sabres organization could be to blame for that – although the additions of Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regehr last summer certainly left a sore spot on his chances at the moment.
Have no fear, Schiestel “The Pistol” fans – he’ll be an all-star defenseman in the NHL in the near future.