The 19-year-old “Problem”


Glenn Gawdin (photo by Darwin Knelsen for

First a note about the blog I know it hasn’t been updated in a while. I’ve been adding audio to my post-game stories on Swift Current Online and figuring out what exactly this blog’s place should be in how I cover the team.

For today I see it as a place to respond to the 19-year-old question.

I often hear fans online and offline talking about the glut of 19-year-olds the Broncos have on their roster as if it is a large problem that will severely handcuff the team and will be particularly difficult to resolve.

Yes having this many 19-year-olds does mean there will be more veteran turnover than usual on the roster next year. However, the Broncos also only had one overage player this year until the addition of Ryan Graham that came without subtracting anyone from the current group. The other reality is that there isn’t necessarily a real glut of 1997s for next year.

Take a closer look at the crop for next year…

  • You have the goalies. Realistically the Broncos will have to make a decision and go with one of Child or Burman next year as overages. Looking at the trade market I suspect the return they get whether that deal is now or the summer is likely similar. There’s always a team looking for a solid overage goalie. That gets them down to 8.
  • Lane Pederson and Max Lajoie are signed to NHL contracts and eligible for the AHL next season. There’s a chance those rosters could be packed and we could see them as overage players, but that doesn’t happen very often and you have to operate as if you are going to lose them. That drops the number down to 6.
  • Glenn Gawdin isn’t signed yet with St. Louis. If the Blues for some weird reason don’t sign him he would surely get picked in this June’s draft and that team would still be able to sign him and put him in the AHL. Is there a chance you get Gawdin back next year? Maybe, but you again can’t count on it because there’s an obvious path for him to the AHL next year. That drops the number down to 5.

So that leaves you with Conner Chaulk, Arthur Miller, Brandan Arnold, Kade Jensen and one of the goalies.

Is that really that complicated a 19-year-old situation? Is getting some kind of late round draft pick or list player (based on similar deals for depth veterans around the league) for one of the 1997s lower on the depth chart right now really worth the hit it would cause to the current team’s depth just so they can say their 1997 number is down?

Now what were to happen if you got lucky as a team and got one of Pederson, Lajoie or Gawdin back next year? It’s a bonus and a good problem to have. You sure can’t plan for it. You have to plan not to have them.

Also there is still a strong returning core for next year. Not including the possible overage guys you can bring five defencemen back. Not including the possible overage guys you can bring eight forwards back. That’s not exactly starting over. Assuming you keep two of the overage skaters and one goalie next year that means the Broncos can still return fifteen skaters and a goalie from this year’s team next fall. The transition isn’t nearly as drastic as some speculate it could be.

What I’m suggesting is that the 19-year-old “problem” really isn’t really that significant. If anything to me it’s a benefit to have a strong crew of 19-year-olds in place to bring a solid veteran presence on a team pushing for a strong playoff run.

Now if the real question is less about the 19-year-olds and more a buy or sell question that is a completely different conversation. There will always be those in any given year who think you need to sell what assets you have now to build the future of the organization. There will also always be those who want to see their team make a strong push and go for it. There’s good debates to have on either side of that coin or even somewhere in the middle. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Broncos do.


About shawnmullin

Play by Play Broadcaster for the WHL's Swift Current Broncos on 94.1 FM The Eagle.
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