Now that the Moose Jaw Warriors have their roster set for the rest of the season, the process of defining roles and lines will begin.
Wednesday night Quinton Howden will move to centre a line with Cody Beach and newcomer Sebastian Svednsen.
That will put Dylan Hood, Spencer Edwards and Antonin Honejsek together. Head coach Dave Hunchak has been using Brett Lyon, Joey Kornelsen and Jesse Paradis together on the third line since Lyon has been acquired.
Hunchak is noted for tinkering with his lines, so clearly nothing is set in stone yet.
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Howden hasn’t played centre much with the Warriors, but he’s certainly comfortable in the role. Most forwards talented enough to make the WHL were centres at some point in their career.
Howden saw some time at the centre during the World Juniors and the Florida Panthers have always listed him at centre
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It made sense that the Warriors re-assign a forward rather than healthy scratch three forwards per night, but it was a little surprising that it was 18-year-old Mackenzie Royer.
Royer has been fairly productive — in 19 games with the Warriors he has five goals and nine points which exactly matches his production over 43 games in Calgary last season.
Rather than a sign that the Warriors have given up on Royer, the move likely signals the opposite. The Warriors will have room for some forwards to fit into their top-six.
Rather than play a bottom six role this season and possibly not be playing every night, they opted to send him to the Camrose Kodiaks in the AJHL. The hope is that playing on a good junior A team (they’re hosting the Royal Bank Cup national championship), Royer will have a good stretch run and be brimming with confidence and poised to be an reliable offensive contributor next season.
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Tuesday’s Warriors practice ended slightly early after a pane of glass at the Civic Centre shattered.
The glass was behind the goal at the south end of the arena and reminded me of Shawn Limpright’s pre-game blast that shattered a pane of glass right behind the same goal a decade ago. The glass barely slowed the puck down before it hit the back wall.
To hear Limpright tell it, the glass had no chance when faced with the unstoppable force of his slap shot. Still that incident comes to mind often when walking behind the goals during the pre-game warm-ups.
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Former Warrior Mike Keane will have his jersey retired for a second time. Keane’s No. 25 Warriors jersey currently hangs in Civic Centre and his No. 12 will be retired by his hometown Manitoba Moose on Feb. 12.
Keane spent five seasons as captain for the Moose before ending his career last season at the age of 43. His is the first number retired by the American Hockey League team.
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Tuesday the Brandon Wheat Kings re-assigned Wheaton King. The 18-year-old Brandon product now cedes the title of best name in the WHL to Kootenay’s Steele Boomer.
The Wheat Kings also re-assigned 19-year-old Dane Mark Mieritz.