Friday, 6 September 2013

'98-Born Prospects Set to Play Friday

Tanner Kaspick
  Wheat Kings' fans will get a good look at the future of the team when Brandon hosts the Moose Jaw Warriors to open their Western Hockey League pre-season schedule on Friday night (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

  15-year olds Nolan Patrick, Kale Clague and Tanner Kaspick will all make their unofficial Wheat Kings' debuts in Friday's contest.

  "Watching them play growing up, I've always been a big fan so it'll be a huge honour to wear that jersey in a real game," said Kaspick Thursday, before finding out he was going to be in the lineup, "If I get that opportunity, there'll be a lot of nerves but mostly excitement and, hopefully, I just have a good opening game."

  The trio were Brandon's first three picks in the 2013 Bantam Draft and are not eligible to play in the WHL on a full-time basis until next season.

  It's unusual for the Wheat Kings to keep 15-year old players past the end of training camp but the club made an exception for the talented threesome this year.

  Kaspick feels that being involved in the team practices this week was another step in learning what it'll take to play next season.

  "You really get a feel for the pace of the game and what it takes to play at this level," said Kaspick, "This is the next level I want to be playing at so seeing what it takes to get here is a huge help, and it's a big learning experience."

  Meanwhile, only 20 of the club's 30 players still in camp (an additional four are away at NHL camps) will get a chance to play in Friday's pre-season opener.

  The pre-season is still largely about evaluation but coming off a non-playoff year means the Wheat Kings will also want to set the tone for what's to come this season.

Wheat Kings' GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon goes over
some teaching points during practice Thursday
  "When you're coming off a year where things to go as well as you would like, we want to try and address a lot of areas of our team play," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on Thursday, "The most important thing, still, is evaluation.  You're looking for the next stage of evaluation for your first-year players and you're always evaluating your returning players to see what kind of progress they're making, how much their roles can be expanded as they having another year in the league."

  Although Brandon's full lineup isn't known at this point, you can expect one that is largely laden with rookies.

  Of the 30 players in camp, 17 are first-year players.

  By the way, we'll be broadcasting tonight's pre-season contest on 880, CKLQ.

  You can listen online here.

Chaff...the Young Stars NHL prospects tournament got underway in Penticton, B.C. Thursday.  Former Wheat King Michael Ferland had an assist as the Calgary Flames' rookies downed their Edmonton counterparts 5-2.  Wheat Kings' defenceman Eric Roy is part of the Flames' team but did not play on Thursday.  Wheat Kings' D Nick Walters and Brandonite Joel Edmundson were on the St. Louis blueline in the Blues' 5-2 loss to the Dallas Stars in the Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan Thursday.  Killarney's Reid Gow is also with the Blues but didn't.  And in London, Ontario, Wheat Kings' forward Richard Nejezchleb and his Pittsburgh Penguins' teammates lost 4-1 to the Ottawa Senators.  Former Wheat Kings' captain Mark Stone is playing with the Sens at that tournament.

No comments: