Fiddler and Warriors part ways

Matthew Gourlie
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Warriors contact WHL about possible tampering

Todd Fiddler came to Moose Jaw with high expectations.

Todd Fiddler from the Moose Jaw Warriors slides the puck between the legs of Brandon Wheat Kings goalie Curtis Honey Sunday in pre-season action.

Monday his time with the Warriors came to an abrupt end.

“Basically things hadn’t been going very well with Fiddler in terms of his play and his production. He was a healthy scratch in two of our last three games. I guess the writing was on the wall that something was going to give,” said Warriors general manager Alan Millar. “There was a meeting when the team got back from Cranbrook to discuss his status with the hockey club and ultimately he’s no longer here.”

That was as much detail Millar was willing to provide about the split, but the bottom line is that Fiddler’s future won’t be in Moose Jaw.

The Warriors had acquired Fiddler from Spokane in May in exchange for a third round draft pick in 2014.

In 14 games, the 20-year-old left winger had two goals and 10 points, but both goals and five of those points came in one game. He scored on both of his shootout attempts this season, but was also a minus-eight. He had six penalty minutes to his credit.

Fiddler’s immediate future is up in the air and the situation got murkier when the Warriors contacted the WHL about possible tampering.

“Todd’s future is a situation where he certainly has options at the Junior A level. He indicated to us that his preference is to consider Junior A rather than another move in the WHL,” said Millar. “In the meantime, we’ve come to the understanding that there is the potential of some tampering by a Junior A team. That’s something we’ve addressed with the WHL (Monday) morning. It’s something that will have to be looked into to see if we can get to the bottom of it before any decision on Todd’s next step will be determined.”

A trade to another WHL team is highly unlikely.

“I think those avenues are exhausted,” said Millar. “I’m unsure if there’s an opportunity for him in the league and furthermore I’m unsure that Todd wants that opportunity.”

Moose Jaw was Fiddler’s fourth team in the WHL. After earning a reputation for inconsistency in Medicine Hat and Prince Albert, Fiddler put together a great season under Don Nachbaur in Spokane. He scored 42 goals and had 77 points in 70 games a season ago. The Warriors were hoping he had turned the corner in his career.

“We felt scoring goals was something we wanted to look at improving during the off-season. We felt we had done that with the addition of Todd,” said Millar. “He just didn’t seem to engage in the opportunity here in Moose Jaw. It seemed like his foot was halfway out the door for some time. I don’t know whether it was a young man who has been traded a few times or whether the passion for the game has gone.”

Fiddler was healthy scratched in Wednesday’s game against the Edmonton Oil Kings and Saturday against the Kootenay Ice. Thursday he was glued to the bench in the third period while the Warriors mounted a furious four-goal comeback win against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The Warriors plan to go forward with Sam Fioretti and Jesse Forsberg as their lone overage players for the time being.

“Part of the reason we were so aggressive in the summer to add a 20 ... was because we didn’t see the depth of the 20-year-olds being that strong,” said Millar. “We’re not dealing with a huge talent pool and we need some guys in our room to step up.”

The Warriors return to action Wednesday when they travel to Regina to face the Pats. They will be missing Brandon Potomak who is out for 4-6 weeks after suffering a shoulder injury in the win over the Hurricanes.

Organizations: Medicine Hat and Prince Albert, Edmonton Oil Kings

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Cranbrook, Spokane Regina

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