Friday, 30 August 2013

Green Tough to Miss

Taylor Green
  The newest member of the Brandon Wheat Kings wasn't hard to spot during the first day of the club's main training camp on Friday.

  6-foot-7, 220 pound defenceman Taylor Green stepped on the ice for the first time as a member of the team on Friday after being acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds earlier this month for a conditional fifth round pick in the 2014 Bantam Draft.

  Green is one of seven blueliners with at least one season of WHL experience on the Wheat Kings' roster, but his acquisition was just as much about what he can do the next two seasons as he can this year.

  If nothing changes in Brandon's defence core, the Wheat Kings expected to graduate four defencemen after the 2013-2014 season (Ryan Pulock, Eric Roy, Nick Walters and Rene Hunter).

  "I think when you're in an organization for a while, you get trapped into a role," said Green after Friday morning's scrimmage, "Seattle was great, I have nothing bad to say about them, but it's a new opportunity here.  We're going to have a lot of guys leaving next year so there'll be a bigger role next year, and this year too.  Hopefully, I can kind of start fresh and carve out a new role for myself."

  Green is just starting to get to know his new teammates, the Wheat Kings' organization and the city of Brandon but did speak with former Wheat Kings and fellow Port Coquitlam, British Columbia product Nick Buonassissi after the trade and said Buonassissi had a lot of good things to say.

  "I think it definitely takes a year to get used to the speed of the league, how you have to prepare every game, the work ethic and all the stuff," said Green, "I'm definitely ready, hopefully bring some experience to the blueline this year and some size.  I think I learned a lot last year and I'm ready to have a better year this year."

  Size-wise, there's no doubt Green becomes the biggest member of the Wheat Kings and that, automatically, creates the expectation of a player that will punish opponents physically.

  "I've been working on that.  I wasn't a super-physical player in Bantam but at my size, you have to be," said Green, "I've been working on it and working on it.  I think I was pretty physical today and I think I'm ready to bring that to the season as well."

  Originally a second round pick (26th overall) in the 2010 Bantam Draft, Green had two goals, seven points, 53 penalty minutes and a minus-24 rating in his rookie season with Seattle in 2012-2013.

Chaff...in Friday night's scrimmage, Taylor Cooper had a hat-trick to lead Team White to a 5-3 victory over Team Gold...Saturday's schedule includes a scrimmage at 9:30 a.m. and a 'practice' intrasquad game at 6 p.m....Brandon product Tyson Verhelst saw his first action of the pre-season Friday, stopping 21 of 23 shots in Spokane's 6-1 loss to Portland. Verhelst was a third round pick of the Chiefs in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.

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