Thursday, 14 October 2010

20-Year Old Deadline Tough on Wheat Kings

Six weeks ago, Brandon Wheat Kings’ GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon told the Brandon Sun that his personal belief was that teams in the CHL should be allowed four 20-year old players.

One can’t argue with McCrimmon’s reasoning, especially when you consider the number of quality 20-year old players the Wheat Kings have been forced to trade and/or release over the last 10 years to get down to the league-mandated maximum of three.

This year, Mark Schneider was traded to Regina, Jacob De Serres cleared WHL waivers and joined the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs and Andrew Hayes was designated for assignment and is still looking for work.

As the WHL 20-year old deadline gets set to pass today (Thursday), here’s a look back at some other quality players that have been ushered out of Brandon for no other reason than the 20-year old numbers game…

2009-2010
Del Cowan – released, subsequently picked up by Prince George and traded to Calgary, where he helped the Hitmen to the WHL title.

Nathan Green – traded to Red Deer during the previous off-season.

2008-2009
Matt McCue – traded to Medicine Hat.

Daniel Bartek – traded to Everett.

2007-2008
Mark Louis – traded to Red Deer.

2006-2007
Corey Courchene – traded to Spokane.

Stephane Lenoski – acquired by Chilliwack in expansion draft.

2005-2006
N/A

2004-2005
Tyler Boldt – traded to Saskatoon.

Andre Blanchette – traded to Prince George, didn’t report. Played 20-year old season in AJHL.

2003-2004
Brett Dickie – traded to Prince George.

2002-2003
Bryan Nathe – acquired by Everett in WHL expansion draft.

Colin McRae – traded to Tri-City.

2001-2002
Kevin Harris – traded to Prince Albert.

Jiri Jakes – traded to Tri-City.

2000-2001
Jan Fadrny – traded to Kelowna.

Justin Hansen – traded to Tri-City.

And that’s not to mention some of the ‘foot soldiers’ over the years like Cale Jeffries, Jordan Hale and Cole Hunter that simply did not return for what would have been their 20-year old season with the Wheat Kings.

The good news for McCrimmon and the Wheat Kings could be the 2011-2012 season.

Brandon’s current roster has five 1991-born players in defenceman Brodie Melnychuk and forwards Scott Glennie, Paul Ciarelli, Mark Mieritz and Hampus Gustafsson.

Unless something dramatic happens, Glennie will play professional next season while Mieritz and Gustafsson would be two-spotters (imports & 20-year olds) and would be difficult to retain as such.

That would seem to leave Melnychuk and Ciarelli to fill two of the three available spots next season.

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