BRONCOS PICK THEIR CAPTAINS
Interview with Adam Lowry (Download)
Interview with Mark Lamb (Download)
The Broncos held their annual season ticket holders BBQ yesterday and Coach/GM Mark Lamb introduced the leadership group for the 2012-13 season. To no one’s surprise, Adam Lowry won a team vote and will wear the “C” for the Broncos this season. Reece Scarlett, Richard Nedomlel and Josh Derko will be alternate captains this season. Scarlett and Lowry both had letters last season while Taylor Vause was Captain.
“It’s a tremendous honour anytime you have the respect of not only your coaches but your teammates as well,” Lowry said. “For them to put the captaincy in my hands it’s something I’m pretty proud of. I’m thrilled to be it and hopefully I can help lead these guys… with the other guys in the room hopefully into a good playoff spot this year.”
Lowry is a great choice. As someone who interviews him often I can tell he is a guy who will represent the team well in the community and in the media. He carries himself with professionalism and class. His worth ethic on and off the ice sets an obvious example for the guys on the team and he is the prototype of the Bronco identity. He plays an aggressive style with a chip on his shoulder and despite being one of the top offensive players on the team he isn’t shy about paying a physical price. As the son of a former NHL player and coach he has been around the game at the highest level since he was a kid and he gets it.
Scarlett was another obvious choice after he wore a letter last year for the Broncos. He is another player who has been here since he was 16 and has been the leader on the blue line since his 17-year-old season. That year Scarlett anchored a young blue line that has now had a chance to grow together. He also carries himself in a professional way and sets an example with his poise at both ends of the ice.
The new additions to the leadership are Nedomlel and Derko. You’ve got a guy in Nedomlel who could barely speak English two years ago and is now a guy who can stand up in the room and guys will listen to. He is a guy who would go to war for his teammates, would dive in front of any shot and has become a key at both ends of the ice for the Broncos. Derko is someone who appears to have really increased his value in Swift Current his fall. He’s leaner, meaner and appears ready to take on more responsibility. They have all earned the respect of their teammates.
Lowry was quick to say they have a deep group of guys who could wear letters. The leadership core won’t consist of these four guys exclusively. However, all four guys have played their entire WHL careers for Mark Lamb and have been here throughout the major changes in how the Broncos play. They were at the heart of the identity change last year and know what the coaching staff expects from them going forward.
Congrats to all four guys as they very much deserve the letters that will be sewed onto their jerseys.
BRONCOS MAKE CUTS UP FRONT
Tuesday Interview with Mark Lamb on Denis Bosc (Download)
Wednesday Interview with Mark Lamb on Smith and Rossignol (Download)
At the start of training camp Coach Lamb said if the young forwards were going to make the team, some of them would have to take a job from a veteran to stay here. It appears a couple of them have been able to do just that. The rookies impressed so much and made the decision on who to cut so difficult that the Broncos ended up parting company with a couple of returning guys in Adam Rossignol and Adam Smith. Denis Bosc was the only player among the five rookies left on the team to get sent out.
Smith and Rossignol didn’t necessarily have to go. It seems both made it clear to Mark Lamb that they’re weren’t happy with the possibility of coming in and out of the lineup in a fourth line role. Both guys want to be every day players and I know Rossignol’s goal was to prove he could be a top six player. It wasn’t going to happen here. Apparently there wasn’t any trade interest for Rossignol so he was released, but hopefully someone will pick him up. He has played two full seasons in the league and absolutely has something to offer. He probably won’t find any teams that will give him a shot at a top six spot right now, but hopefully he can find a place that will give him an opportunity to play every day and show that he has more to give.
Smith was an underrated player here in some circles. The coaching staff really liked how he played a simple game and didn’t make many mistakes while being willing to mix it up physically. If he had been willing to accept coming in and out of the lineup as needed he would still be here, but Smith believes he has more to offer than that. He’s going to head back to Junior A in BC and hopefully play more. The Broncos have left the door open for him again in the future. More playing time could be good for him and maybe get him to where he would need to be to get a every day role here next fall.
I certainly wish both guys nothing but the best. It’s clear they can both play at this level, but in this case youth was served. The rookies broke the door down and that’s always exciting for any franchise.
What these moves mean is that Swift Current’s Zac Mackay, Gull Lake’s Justin Spagrud, Dakota Odgers and Tanner LeSann will all start the season here in Swift Current. As Mark Lamb said, the roster isn’t set until after the trade deadline. You never know what could happen and everyone still has to prove they belong every week. However, it’s s till a very exciting moment for all four of those guys and something they should be very proud of.
Each of them had question marks coming into camp. They’ve all shown they belong in pre-season competition and answered most of those questions. However, the game changes when the regular season starts and it only gets tougher as we get deeper into that season. This is just the beginning of their test.
It’s not surprising to see guys like Odgers, Mackay and Spagrud crack this roster. They’re drafted players and were expected to make a WHL roster one day. For a guy like LeSann it’s a great surprise for the organization and actually a happy surprise for him as well. He told me yesterday that he at first just hoped to get to the intrasquad game. As camp went on he realized he had a real chance to be here and he just kept working hard. It’s always a good story when someone comes to camp and surprises and it sure seems like LeSann fits the identity of this team like a glove.
I don’t want to make it seem like because the other three were drafted that it’s any less of an accomplishment to make the roster. At the start of camp there were 13 veteran forwards here and there was a good chance only a couple of guys would stick at most. For four of them to be here says a lot about what they all showed. They forced management’s hand with hard work, hard play and a commitment to what this team is all about.
The four guys may be among the smaller or thinner guys on the team and yet they brought it physically. LeSann, Odgers and Spagrud all had at least 4 points in the pre-season and each guy was at least an even player if not significantly a plus. Mackay, LeSann and Odgers all also dropped the gloves and showed no hesitation to involve themselves in that part of the game.
The one rookie of the guys that made it into the final two weeks that didn’t make the final cut was Denis Bosc. In his case I think it was just a matter of numbers catching up to him. He may have been slightly behind the other four in terms of the roles the coaching staff was looking to fill, but I do believe Bosc was capable of playing at this level this season. That said, the coaching staff feels he could use some time to work on his puck skills and his offensive production. Hopefully in going back to Steinbach in the MJHL he’s able to get some serious minutes to do just that. He skates well, he works hard and he has a good attitude. He was good enough to make the U17 team and there is clearly potential there. Now it’s just a matter of his making the most out of this year in Steinbach and the door is wide open for him to come back here next year.
I’m not suggesting it will be easy next year. Not by a long shot… especially with the impressive group of 96 and 97 born forwards coming down the pipe. I just think Bosc still has every opportunity to be a part of that and I know I’ll be watching the boxscores out of Manitoba to see how he does.
As for other roster moves… there has been talk of something happening with the overage situation this week. I’m still waiting for official confirmation on that. There are still lots of interesting overage options out there as well so nothing is ever settled there. If management decides they can improve the team that way they won’t hesitate.
The goaltending situation looks like it will stay static through at least the first weekend of the season. Both Steven Myland and Landon Bow have had some very impressive moments throughout the last month and the Broncos don’t want to rush to make a move yet. They don’t want to carry three goalies for too long either.
There are also still nine defencemen on the roster and something to take care of there. With six veterans and three rookies something is going to have to give at some point. It may not happen by tomorrow but it will have to be relatively soon. They’ve got nine guys there who could all play in the league now so it’s again a matter of seeing where they could maybe get some value out of it or just simply deciding who are the best fits for the roles they need filled this season.
Things are coming together though. Up front this team got more of an injection of youth than perhaps they envisioned at the start of camp… but that’s a good thing. There is still a large veteran group to build around and the youth should bring some energy and “push” from the bottom of the lineup that successful teams need.
Congrats to all four young forwards for taking the next step in their hockey dreams. Hopefully it’s just the beginning for all four.