The Moose Jaw Warriors scouting staff had a lot of chances to look at Jayden Halbgewachs as he developed.
Without a first round bantam selection they never had the chance to draft the Emerald Park product, but given a second chance to add the speedy five-foot-seven winger, the Warriors made sure they got their man.
Halbgewachs (pronounced HALB-gwox) was acquired along with defenceman Tyler Bell and a first round pick in 2015 from the Kamloops Blazers in exchange for 19-year-old defenceman Joel Edmundson and a fourth round pick 10 days ago.
Saturday, the Warriors introduced Halbgewachs to the media and presented him with a Warriors jersey and a hat.
“Jayden was the guy we asked for and Jayden was the player we wanted to be part of this trade,” said Warriors GM Alan Millar.
The Blazers had selected Halbgewachs with the 19th overall pick in the draft. He was also selected to take part in the NHLPA All-Canadians National Mentorship Cup this past summer.
Millar said that he, assistant GM, hockey operations Rob MacLachlan along with scouts Mark Penny and Doug Gasper watched a lot of games and read a lot of reports about Halbgewachs and are excited about his potential.
“I think Jayden is a guy that’s going to get better and better. He scored 55 goals in Balgonie last year,” said Millar of his production in 24 bantam games. “We believe that he’s dynamic; he’s exciting. I think his hockey IQ is very good and we think that at 18 and 19 years old he’ll be a very good player in the Western Hockey League.”
While it isn’t easy being traded before you even set foot in the league, Halbgewachs has taken the move in stride.
“I’m happy I got traded here. It’s nice and close to home,” said Halbgewachs. “They’re a developing organization and hopefully they’ll be a good team when I start to play here.
“I was really happy and I think my parents were especially happy.”
Saturday, Halbgewachs picked up an assist on the Regina Pat Canadians only goal in a 4-1 loss to the Moose Jaw Generals. That gives him nine goals and 18 points in 24 games so far this midget AAA season.
“He’ll be better in the back half than he was in the first half once he gets used to the league,” said Pat Canadians head coach Norm Johnston. “It’s more of a team game in midget than it is in bantam.
“Everybody can skate at this level. At the bantam level you can stand still and still beat guys. You can’t do that at this level.”
Halbgewachs feels he needs to work on his consistency shift to shift and is working on the defensive side of his game. He also wants to continue to develop offensively, though it is clearly already a strength in his game.
“I think after Christmas hopefully I’ll step up my game and get some more points on the board,” said Halbgewachs. “The biggest adjustment has been the speed. It’s a higher tempo than last season and I’m not able to do the same things that I could last season.”