The Swift Current Broncos sent veteran defenceman Bobby Zinkan to Vancouver today in exchange for forward Luca Leone. Zinkan is heading into his 19-year-old season and Leone is coming into his 18-year-old year. Both were sophomores last season. Click here for details.
I had the chance to chat with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb about the deal, the bantam draft, their other off season plans and what they take from the success Portland and Edmonton have now had year in and year out.
Interview with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb (Download)
What kind of player is Leone? From all counts he is a skilled player with good size who put up good numbers at other levels. He was a huge scorer in his second year bantam with Shattuck St. Mary’s with 93 points in 61 games. He had 34 points in 45 games in his first year of midget there as well. That scoring hasn’t yet come for him at the WHL level with 11 points in 63 games, but we’ve seen this before. Think of players like Ryon Moser and Levi Bews who hadn’t quite put together their offensive games in the WHL before coming to Swift Current and getting the opportunity to grow. Could that happen for Leone here? With guys like Graham Black and Nathan Burns leaving this off season the opportunity could be there for him.
As for Zinkan, he was a model teammate on and off the ice. He’s a very good skater, can throw big hits and moves the puck well offensively… but the opportunity hasn’t been here for him. He hasn’t had a chance to play enough and with Heatherington, Honka, Martin, Lernout, Harris, Shmoorkoff and Bevan all eligible to return next season and the likes of Lajoie and Parsons knocking on the door it would be hard to imagine that ice time being available next season as well. As Mark Lamb said in the interview, the hope is this deal will open up an opportunity for both players and work out for both teams. Everyone here wishes Zinkan nothing but the best and would love to see him thrive like he can in Vancouver.