Friday, 16 September 2011

Nikkel Impressing during Pre-Season

Ayrton Nikkel feels pretty good about the way the pre-season has unfolded for him.

The 16-year old Wheat Kings' defenceman has one goal, two points and a -1 rating in three pre-season games while seeing plenty of ice-time for Brandon.

"I've had a lot of skating to do, getting back into shape and getting up to speed with all the guys," said Nikkel after practice Thursday, "It's been a lot of fun."

Nikkel was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades as part of the Brayden Schenn trade last January after being the 42nd pick in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.

He had an outstanding season with the Pursuit of Excellence Midget team in his hometown of Kelowna last season, notching 13 goals and 47 points in 53 games.

"I think I make a solid first pass," said Nikkel when asked to describe his game, "I like to be physical when needed and just play smart D."

Nikkel is one of ten defencemen on the Wheat Kings' pre-season roster and the numbers dictate that 2-3 of those will not be with the club for the entire 2011-2012 season.

However, the 6-foot-1, 185 pound Nikkel appears to have his spot, and is now setting some modest goals for the upcoming campaign.

"Just play a solid game, get in as many games as I can and contribute whereever I'm needed," said Nikkel, "It's good that we have so many up-and-coming players...we've got a lot of good young players and a lot of vets that are helping everyone out. The next couple of years, it's going to be really good."

Brandon's pre-season finale goes tonight versus the Regina Pats (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

One player that likely won't be in the Wheat Kings' lineup Friday is centre Jason Swyripa.

Swyripa missed Wheat Kings' practive Thursday after taking a blow to the head during Wednesday's pre-season game in Regina.

Pats' forward Mikael Jung received five-minute major for checking to head on the play involving Swyripa late in the second period.

The play is still being reviewed by the WHL office for a possible (probable) suspension.

Chaff...ex Brandon captain Shayne Wiebe scored a goal for the Winnipeg Jets in their 2-0 win over Vancouver at the NHL Young Stars Tournament in Penticton on Thursday...former Wheat King Wheaton King has been released by the Medicine Hat Tigers and will return to the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers...three trades in the WHL Thursday. The Spokane Chiefs have dealt D Tyler Vanscourt, 19, to the Prince Albert Raiders in exchange for G Luke Lee-Knight, 18, and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft; The Calgary Hitmen have traded D Kyle Schmidt, 18, to the Saskatoon Blades for a fourth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft and the Tri-City Americans have dealt F Max Moline, 18, to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a conditional fifth-rounder in the 2013 bantam draft.

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