After December 1st, Canadian Junior Hockey League teams are only allowed to have 25 player cards; which means many clubs will reduce to 22 or 23 players so that they can allow themselves 2-3 additions between December 1st and January 10th; which is the other deadline clubs have for making transactions.
Media members that follow the SJHL are speculating as to what may happen between now and December 1st and the activity figures to be rampant as all twelve teams’ coaches will congregate as part of the Showcase this weekend in Battlefords.
Here is a look at the Sherwood Conference
“I think the Wings will go past December 1st with their two 20-year-old goalies,” surmised one radio announcer from a rival team. “I don’t think they will go beyond January 10th, but I don’t sense they are close to getting anything done.” Another opinion is that the Wings don’t have many needs and since they are in first place, they can afford to sit back and wait for the right offer on either AJ Whiffen or Tanner Erickson.
The Klippers may have an issue with depth; but the acquisition of Sanfred King earlier this month should help that problem up front. “I have heard a few people say that it is really hard to win in this league with a 17-year-old goalie; but I haven’t seen this team much. They might have a good enough insurance policy (Josh Baker) already.” Larry Wintoneak’s history indicates he leans heavily on his top end players so unless he figures he can upgrade those areas; the Klippers may be a quiet team on December 1st.
“I can’t see them going beyond next week with three goalies,” surmised one observer. The Terriers need scoring and they need it bad, scoring just 16 total goals in their last 9 games. “They may have missed the boat on getting what they really want in a trade,” says another individual. “If they find a way to score, they are going to be a tough team to play.”
Nobody is talking about the Hounds, but you can’t deny they are a player near the top half of the conference. “I like their youth, but the thing with Notre Dame is always how good are they going to be at the end of the season. Most years they regress when other teams progress and they get left behind.” There is some speculation Notre Dame would be a good fit for one of the Yorkton goalies as the Hounds have two rookies, but head coach Darren Evjen has expressed confidence in his youngsters and media members aren’t hearing a peep about Notre Dame looking for a puckstopper.
“I like this team up front, but they may have to go out of province to get help if they decide it is in goal,” says a southern area scribe. “I don’t see Yorkton trading them a goaltender.” One has to wonder why this team would even be searching for a netminder when you factor in Brady Wilyman’s November (4-1, 2.18, .928). Rookie Zach Rakochy has struggled, but the team is averaging less than two goals a game in front of him. “I would like to see them play with more of a mean streak,” said one announcer.
One opposition team’s radio announcer likes this club, despite the sub .500 record. “I think the new goaltender has helped (Neamonitis); but their defense is thin after Colton MacPherson.” Another media member says the standings are much to close for them to consider unloading 20-year-olds. “They are in the mix and right there with everyone else when they have a full roster.”
Here’s a look at the Bauer Conference:
The Bombers continue to get better and may have made their moves already and could be a pretty quiet organization on December 1st. “Mike Reagan always seems to make a splash on December 1st and January 10th. I’m anxious to see what he does,” says one media member. However, it should be noted the Mike Rey trade and the securing of hometown native Ryan Fox has gone a long way to boosting the team’s chances already.
”Ken Pearson has done a real good job of making moves, but not upsetting team chemistry. He had to do a lot to the player personnel when he came in and now he’s continuing to tweak what looks to be a real good group,” says one media observer. The Stars appear to have excellent goaltending, still they give up a few too many scoring opportunities to the opposition.
”La Ronge is a team that is starting to give up too many goals to continue winning, so I think they may look to make a move to either shore up goaltending, or get a veteran stay at home defenseman,” said one radio announcer. Bob Beatty, generally, likes physical teams so it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Ice Wolves go for a physical winger either.
The Mustangs have added goalie Chris Ward already and Darrell Mann is one Coach/General Manager who always seems to be on the phone right until the final minute of the deadline. Mann has made no secret he would like to have more energy in the dressing room as well as on the ice. He also doesn’t appear to be shy about making just about any player available provided the situation suits the team’s needs.
Could the Broncos admit defeat and go young? Dane Lindskog, Shawn Hunter, and Cameron Gibson would bring the team a mint should they opt to go that direction as players who are born winners don’t grow on trees. Dean Brockman has been coy about his December 1st intentions, but one observers says, “I think Humboldt has a better team than what their record shows. I think if they keep their veterans and add another player or two, they could be a pretty dominant club in the second half and who would want to play them come playoff time?”
The Hawks needed to change the culture of their dressing room, so head coach Colin O’Hara moved out a couple of prominent faces in exchange for a proven goalie, some youth, and a promise of opportunity for a couple of players already on the roster who were in support roles. The team has responded, so dealing 20-year-olds doesn’t look like an option. “They might be the hardest working team in the league,” commented one media member.