Tribe also have 20-year-old spot open as Wyton moves on
© Matthew Gourlie
Spencer Morse of the Moose Jaw Warriors, left, runs over Saskatoon Blades defenceman Graeme Craig during first period action Wednesday night at Mosaic Place. Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
When the players register for Moose Jaw Warriors training camp today, two veterans won’t be amongst them.
Tuesday the Warriors traded defenceman Spencer Morse to the Red Deer Rebels for a conditional 10th round draft pick.
The Warriors also have an opening for a 20-year-old after Jordan Wyton committed to playing Junior A hockey with the Brooks Bandits in the AJHL.
“We all felt at the end of the season last year that a new opportunity was the right thing for Spencer,” said Warriors general manager Alan Millar.
“This was a situation where we had agreed to part ways and to look for another opportunity for Spencer in the league and we were able to do that for him in Red Deer.”
The Warriors will get at least a 10th round pick, but depending on certain conditions about how long Morse is in the WHL, the round of the pick will change.
“If he does well over a certain time frame, the pick will go up,” said Millar.
The writing on the wall was there after Morse only played in seven of the final 21 games of the regular season. He was sent home for a week for disciplinary reasons last February.
“Spencer is a good kid. I think that last year was a good learning experience for him. Hopefully he can take what he learned this past season and find a way to make it work in a new spot,” said Millar.
Morse, a six-foot-four, former second round pick, finished with a goal, five points and 90 penalty minutes in 46 games a year ago. It was the 18-year-old’s rookie season in the WHL.
Wyton only played 35 games a year ago as injuries plagued his season. He finished with five goals and 10 points.
“That was ultimately Jordan’s decision. I think Jordan saw the writing on the wall that there wasn’t a guaranteed spot with us, or necessarily in the league,” said Millar. “He had a very short season with the injuries. I think Jordan was in a position where he would have loved to have played in Moose Jaw again.
“It was unlikely he was going to be a 20-year-old for us. He can play close to home, be a leader, be a key guy for them and hopefully enjoy his final year of junior.”
The six-foot-two left winger was a tremendous penalty killer and a leader in the Warriors locker room.
“You look at our left side with (Todd) Fiddler, (Brandon) Potomak, (Tanner) Eberle, then (Brandon) Del Grosso coming in. Plus you have guys like (Ethan) Lazaro, Ethan Williams, (Jayden) Halbgewachs; so there’s some depth there,” said Millar. “Jordan is a great kid. He’ll always be a great Warrior in terms of how hard he battled for us and how good of kid he was.”
Fiddler and Sam Fioretti are the only 1993-born players heading to camp, but Millar said they will wait and see what their needs are before they rush out to fill that final 20-year-old spot.
“We don’t necessarily sit back and look at our team and say ‘we need a 20-year-old defenceman’ or ‘we need a 20-year-old right winger,’” said Millar. “You look at the potential of Morgan Rielly and the opportunity in Toronto. If Morgan stays in Toronto, then we’re probably looking for a 20-year-old defenceman.
“There’s some variables there and Robert (Maclachlan), the coaching staff and myself felt that it was best to keep that spot open and see what our needs are when we get into the early part of the season and go from there.”
The Warriors will have 76 players register for camp Wednesday. They will have their fitness testing Thursday morning before taking to the ice for the first time later that afternoon.