Monday, Sept. 16, 2013
So much for Braiden Doucette looking like he had done enough to retain his spot on the blue line. Monday the Warriors outright released their veteran defenceman.
Heading into camp it was clear — and the Warriors had made it clear to the 18-year-old in their exit meetings at the end of last season — that he needed to impress at camp to make the team. They clearly felt he didn’t show enough to warrant being in the line-up every night.
The Warriors seem happy to go forward with eight defencemen to start the season, but if Morgan Rielly comes back, another move will be made.
GM Alan Millar looked to get something back for Doucette through a trade, but wasn’t able to get a deal done. By releasing him (and not retaining his rights on their 50-man list) it gives Doucette a chance to catch on in the league with no strings attached.
The Warriors other two roster moves Monday were much more predictable as Jayden Halbgewachs and Ryan Gardiner were re-assigned to their midget AAA teams. The 16-year-olds will benefit from playing a lot of minutes in all situations and the Warriors felt that it would be better for both to get that development time.
That is also good news for Tyler Brown and Ben Duperreault.
Brown, a 16-year-old defenceman from Olympia, Washington will start the season with the Warriors and you would think that points to him staying up with the team for the foreseeable future.
After a great summer development camp, Tyler Brown had a slow start to camp, but you can see him learning and growing pretty quickly. He won’t be an everyday player if he spends the season in Moose Jaw, but clearly the Warriors are happy with his progress and quickly he’s overcoming the learning curve.
Moose Jaw Generals head coach Ray Wareham was hoping to get Duperreault back for their Telus Cup run, but before camp he astutely observed that Duperreault is a “hard player to cut.” A year older than Halbgewachs, Duperreault speed and work rate has impressed.
The Warriors are currently down to 22 players, but may still make some moves before Friday’s season opener. Millar said Monday that they “still have some tough decisions” to make and that they hope to have their roster solidified by Thursday and that “There are still some things potentially in the mix in terms of some changes.”
Obviously, they need to make a decision on what to do with Daniel Wapple and Zach Sawchenko in goal, but otherwise they are at a workable number. They have seven defencemen in town and 14 forwards, but there is still time for some more moves as teams get players back from NHL camps and the 20-year-old situation becomes more clear.
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The Warriors are hosting their first town hall meeting Wednesday, 7 p.m. at the Heritage Inn. If I get a full list of which players and which board members will be attending, I’ll tweet it out before the meeting.
The Warriors are opening it up to a question and answer session, so that could be interesting.
The team is expected to make some important announcements at the town hall meeting.
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For what it’s worth, here were the line combinations in practice Monday (LW-C-RW):
Del Grosso and McCarthy were the extras. That could all change before Friday, but that’s who was together Monday.