I wrote up an article previewing training camp for Swift Current Online. You can check that out by clicking here. I feel like this is going to be as interesting and competitive a training camp as we’ve seen in recent years. What battles are you watching?
Interview with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb (Download)
Some nuggets in that interview include the absence of Levi Bews, Cameron Hughes, Jackson Keane and Igor Leonenko from camp. Bews is dealing with a personal situation and him not being here has nothing to do with his desire to play for the Broncos or in Swift Current. The door is open for him to return if things change at all. Either way I know I wish Levi all the best and thank him for being a pro to deal with at all times.
Hughes and Keane are both likely to play Junior A this year. That said, they haven’t committed to any schools and both sides have left the door open for the future. This is not a commitment to Junior A/college rather than them delaying their decision and keeping their options open. Jackson is still only 16 this year and a smaller player so he could probably benefit from another year to develop anyway.
Leonenko probably saw both Eetu Laurikainen and Julius Honka being here as squeezing him out. I’m hearing he’ll head to North Battleford in the SJHL and could try to get back to the WHL next season. The Broncos would have to draft him again if they wanted him next fall.
So where are the best battles in camp? As I talked about in my article it looks like forward is the position with the most jobs to win. Adam Lowry, Chance Lund, Ryon Moser and Bews are gone. Only two of Graham Black, Connor Sanvido and Daniel Dale can stay with the team after camp. Dakota Odgers is out injured until November. Right there you have at least five spots to win and that doesn’t account for any rookies taking jobs from veterans. When you add back in Andrew Johnson it could be more like 3-4 jobs up for grabs at camp.
So who do you like for those spots? Glenn Gawdin seems like an obvious one if the 2012 first round pick is ready to make the leap. There are a number of other point per game midget players like Jake Debrusk, Jordan Wittman and Keegan Milligan to watch. Cavin Leth played Junior A last year and was a second round pick in 2011.
That doesn’t even account for the possible surprises. Ty McLean is the nephew of former Bronco Darren McLean and played for the Regina Pats last season. He had 60 points in Midget AAA as a 16-year-old and put up some numbers for Weyburn in the SJHL in the second half of last season. He’s someone like a Ryon Moser in the past who could find new life with another WHL team. That’s just one name. Who was talking about Tanner LeSann before training camp last year? He came in and forced his way on the roster.
Again as I said in the article the blueline looks a little closer to set. It might be more like a battle for 6-7-8 type spots for guys like Cole Bevan, Reid Fritzke, Max Lajoie and others. The other factor is whether the Broncos will start the season without a single 19 or 20-year-old defenceman on the roster. That may change quickly.
Goaltending appears set… but you never know! That’s the fun of camp. There are always surprises.
You can also check out an article I did on the local players trying to crack the lineup or move into bigger roles. It includes interviews with Zac Mackay and Justin Spagrud.
What are you watching for? Who do you think surprises us? Let me know. I’ll see you all at the rink tomorrow.
2013 Training Camp Scrimmage Schedule
Thursday, August 22nd
4-5:45PM: Team Sakic vs. Team Tiger
6-7:45PM: Team Trottier vs. Team Ruskowski
Friday, August 23rd
4-5:45PM: Team Sakic vs. Team Trottier
6-7:45PM: Team Tiger vs. Team Ruskowski
Saturday, August 24th
4-5:45PM: Team Trottier vs. Team Tiger
6-7:45PM: Team Ruskowski vs. Team Sakic
Sunday, August 25th
1-3:30PM: Black and White Intra-Squad Game (ticket proceeds will benefit United Way)