If you read my last post updating the Ice Wolves (relatively) known quantities heading in to Training Camp this weekend, you probably noticed a lack of mention about some names expected at Camp.
While Bob Beatty is playing some things close to the chest, he did give me names of a few players that will be new names/faces for fans at training camp and are expected to perform well.
Information isn't exactly abundant on these players, and I'm sure more will come out when we get to the weekend, but it's fun to do some digging around and find out what we can about these guys.
Check out an early look at Scott Helmkay, Brandon Crozier and Pavlo Zerebecky after the break.
Scott Helmkay ('93, listed at 5'11, 170 lbs) is a skilled offensive defenceman who has a knack for scoring goals. Last season with the Midget AA Broncos in the Centre Four Hockey League, Helmkay racked up 17 goals in 22 games. The goal mark was second on his team and he added 5 assists for 1.0 points per game average. In the interest of full disclosure, he may have spent time up front as well. Talking to Coach Beatty, it sounds as if Helmkay can play forward as well as defense so some of those goals may have come up front. Beatty intends to start Helmkay on the back end so he could turn out to be a valuable asset on the powerplay. Obviously it's a stretch to drop comparisons to a SJHL Playoff MVP, but the player type seems comparable to Dayton Fossum. Helmkay spent the 2009-2010 season in Midget AAA, playing in 41 games with the Saskatoon Blazers (2G-2A-4P) and played four games for the Tisdale Trojans (0G-2A-2P).
Next on the list is 2011 co-PJHL Rookie of the Year, Pavlo Zerebecky. This forward ('92, listed at 5-10, 170 lbs on eliteprospects.com) scored five goals in 44 games duringthe 2009-10 season in Midget AAA with Swift Current, then exploded for 22 goals in 39 games with the Saskatoon Westleys in his first season of Junior-B hockey. He also tacked on 26 assists to be second on his team in points. From what Coach Beatty says, it sounds like Zerebecky has his name pencilled in to a spot on the roster and if he can keep up the progression, why not? It's not too often you see a player move from a younger league and jump so much offensively, usually we see it go the other way. The SJHL will provide some tough competition for Zerebecky, but if he can provide similar offensive numbers in La Ronge; the offence will be greatly appreciated.
The third and final player of today's look-ahead doesn't put forward too many flashy numbers like the previous two. I'm also not sure as to his status. While Bob Beatty pretty much came out and said Helmkay and Zerebecky have their names in spots, Branden Crozier (F - '93) is "expected to have a strong showing". To me, that means he'll make a serious challenge for a spot, but may not crack the roster or will be a spot player (maybe a future MBC colour commentator?).
Only having the stats to go on means I'm not getting the whole story. Four goals and five assists in 45 games isn't exactly a monster stat-line. So is this relatively undersized (5-9, 163 lbs) forward more of a fixture in a penalty killing role/grinder? He only put 12 penalty minutes on the board last season so he's probably not an agitator/scrapper. Of all the players Coach Beatty mentioned, he could be the most intriguing, because of the lack of flashy stats. We know to watch for him, but what does Crozier bring to the table? This weekend should yield some answers.
So these are some players to keep an eye on when Ice Wolves training camp rolls around this weekend, and a new depth chart.
Aaron Enns ('91)
*Rhyse Dieno ('93)
*Jared Iron ('94)
Graham Smerek ('92)
Nathan Boyer ('92)
Skyler Hladun ('92)
Pavlo Zerebecky ('92)
Franklin Cook ('93)
Branden Crozier ('93)
Matt Weisensel ('91)
Alex Vandenameele ('92)
Ben Bula ('91)
Brett Hope ('93)
David Greyeyes ('91)
Franklin Cook ('93) (Not sure where he'll fit in)
Scott Helmkay ('93)
Myles Hovdebo ('92)
Alex Rajotte ('91)
*Players at WHL Camps
This depth chart will continue to fill out, and I've been told some information may become available as of tomorrow when Camps are officially allowed to open. We'll see if I have anything else to add.
In the meantime, which players are you excited to see on this list? Which positions are you most intrigued about? Let me know in the comments section.