2009-10: Damon Severson was selected by Kelowna in the ninth round (192nd overall) of the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, Severson appeared in five games for the Rockets and appeared in one game for the Junior A Melville Millionaires; playing most of the season with the midget AAA Yorkton Harvest in the SMHL. Severson was minus-4 with no points or penalties in his brief time with Kelowna and had 1 assist and 2 penalty minutes for the Millionaires. In 44 games for Yorkton he scored 9 goals with 25 assists and had 53 penalty minutes. The Harvest finished seventh in the regular season. In four playoff games Severson had 1 goal (on the power play) and 1 assist with 18 penalty minutes.
2010-11: Severson played 64 games in his first full WHL season with Kelowna and represented Canada Western in the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge. He scored 4 goals with 13 assists and had 53 penalty minutes. Severson shared the team’s third-best plus/minus (plus-11) with teammate Evan Bloodoff. The Rockets finished first in the B.C. Division and reached the second round of the playoffs. Severson scored 2 goals in 10 playoff games and was plus-one with 13 penalty minutes. In five games at the WHC he had 2 assists and 4 penalty minutes.
2011-12: Severson skated in 56 games for Kelowna in his second WHL season and represented Canada at the 2012 U18 World Junior Championship. He scored 7 goals and was second on the rockets with 30 assists; finishing plus-five with 80 penalty minutes. Kelowna slipped to third in the B.C. Division and was swept by WHL Finals-bound Portland in the first round of the playoffs. In four playoff games Severson scored 2 goals and was minus-9 with 2 penalty minutes. Severson had two assists and was one of three players with a team-high plus-7 plus/minus for Canada at the U18 WJC. Canada defeated Finland in the bronze medal game. Severson was invited to the NHL Draft Combine and was ranked 48th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft. Severson signed a three-year entry entry-level contract with New Jersey in September, 2012.
2012-13: Severson was impressive in New Jersey’s training camp — signing a three-year entry-level contract before returning to Kelowna. He made his pro hockey debut as an 18-year-old, skating in two games with New Jersey’s AHL affiliate in Albany after concluding his junior season. He had 2 assists and was plus-2 with the Albany Devils. Severson was the leading scorer among defensemen for the high octane Kelowna Rockets, scoring 10 goals with 42 assists in 71 games, and was plus-43 with 74 penalty minutes. Kelowna finished first in the B.C. Division and tied Edmonton for the WHL’s second-best record behind league champion Portland. The Rockets were swept by Kamloops in a second round playoff series. Severson scored 1 goal with 9 assists and was plus-2 with 18 penalty minutes in 11 playoff games.
2013-14: Severson attended training camp with New Jersey before returning to Kelowna and was the seventh-leading scorer amongst WHL defensemen in his fourth season with the Rockets. The third-leading scorer amongst all skaters for Kelowna, he scored 15 goals with 46 assists and was plus-47 with 63 penalty minutes in 64 regular season games. The Rockets finished with the WHL’s best record and were first in the B.C. Division; advancing to the Western Conference finals against Portland. Severson scored 4 goals with 14 assists and was plus-4 with 18 penalty minutes in 14 playoff games.
Severson can play on both ends of the ice, but recently, his offensive game has started to take off. He displays a calm and poised demeanor with the puck, which helps accentuate his top-notch puck-moving skills. He's equally adept at launching an offensive attack with sharp outlet passing as he is rushing the puck up the ice with his good skating ability. Severson has a heavy shot that he is not afraid to unleash. Defensively, he puts himself in good position to make the right play though he is inconsistent at times in his own end. His physical game has gotten better and his decision-making should evolve as he gains experience.
Look for Severson to take the next step as a young leader on the squad. The maturity he has shown after one season of hockey is remarkable, hinting he could earn a leadership role with New Jersey down the line. As for his play on the ice, he will continue serving in a top-four role and push the pace on the rush to create offensive chances. Under John Hynes’ new system, Severson should flourish.