Defenceman acquired by Warriors in summer headed to U of A
Training camp is still a week away, but the Moose Jaw Warriors roster situation got a little more muddled Tuesday.
Cole Wedman, expected to be a top-four defenceman for the team this season, has elected to attend the University of Alberta this fall. The 20-year-old Edmonton product spent the past three seasons with the Spokane Chiefs. He was acquired by the Warriors in exchange for a conditional fourth round pick in May, that deal is now null and void.
"Cole's a great kid. He had some decisions to make and he decided to go to the University of Alberta and we wish him the best," said Warriors general manager Alan Millar.
The Warriors will have three overage players in camp, but Jack Rodewald, Tanner Eberle and Scott Cooke are all forwards.
The team wanted to add a veteran presence to the defence and were looking at the six-foot-three Wedman to help replace some of the toughness and leadership that Jesse Forsberg brought to the team last season after he was acquired from Seattle in October.
"Between now and the beginning of the season we're evaluating where some of our young guys are and who will have the ability to step up. We may look at other options on 20-year-olds," said Millar. "There's no rush and no panic to replace that 20-year-old that we lost with Wedman."
Wedman had played 181 games with the Chiefs and had 29 points and 127 penalty minutes in his career.
"I think we're open to looking at the possible right fit for our team at any age and any position if we think it can help us," said Millar. "In the meantime we like some of the young guys coming in and I think it's going to be a real competitive camp. I think we have depth in all areas."
The Warriors have five returning defencemen: Tyler Brown, Spenser Jensen, Alexey Sleptsov, Dallas Valentine and Reid Zalitach. They also have Ryan Gardiner, Christos Zinis and Dustin Perillat coming in looking to crack the roster in their 17-year-old season. They also acquired Austin Adam from Everett for a conditional eighth round pick in June.
"We've built further depth by adding Austin Adam as a 19-year-old at six-foot-six. We should have good competitiveness going into our camp," said Millar.
Adam played 50 games last year with the Silvertips and had four points and 34 penalty minutes and was a minus-14 on the season. He has 127 career WHL games under his belt.
If the Warriors don't add a 20-year-old before they break camp it will give more ice time to the Warriors young defencemen as they look to make an impression on new head coach Tim Hunter.
"It gives us an opportunity to evaluate what kind of a step some of our 17- and 18-year-olds have taken and what kind of contributions some of our young guys can make," said Millar. "I also think that in the meantime it gives Tim Hunter some time to get to know our player personnel as we prepare for the season."
The Warriors have made a move during the season to acquire a 20-year-old in each of the past three seasons.