This is a big blow for the Tips, who were counting on adding the 16-year-old forward's elite offensive skills to the lineup. More to follow.
--- UPDATE, 3 p.m.
I've spoken with Everett general manager Garry Davidson and he confirmed that Jost has committed to Penticton for next season. Davidson said he was informed by Jost of his decision about 10 days ago. This leaves the NCAA route open for Jost, a potential superstar prospect who's coming off a campaign in which he set the BCMML record for goals in a season.
Davidson said he's disappointed that Jost won't be coming to Everett next season, because Jost would have been a key contributor. However, he also said that the door remains open and that he's hopeful Jost join the Silvertips sometime in the future.
This news did not come out of left field. Though Jost attended training camp last August, he arrived late because he was at Penticton's training camp, and he appeared in three games with the Vees during the regular season. The longer proceedings drew out without a commitment, the worse it looked for the Tips as a contract offer was on the table from day one.
This continues a worrying trend for the Tips of elite talent spurning Everett. It goes back to Seth Jones' announcement he wouldn't play for Everett in 2012 and his subsequent trade to Portland. Since then the Tips have used some high draft picks on elite forwards (Jost, Auston Matthews, Patrick Khodorenko), but have yet to land any of them (Matthews and Khodorenko are both playing for the U.S. NTDP). And Penticton is not the place a WHL team wants to see its prospects playing, as it is an NCAA factory.
But all is not lost yet. It's not unheard of for top forwards to start at Penticton, then jump to the WHL -- I think of Ryan Johansen going from Penticton to Portland in 2009 and Ryan Gropp jumping from Penticton to Seattle last season. So the Tips will continue recruiting Jost and hope to land him for 2015-16, which is Jost's NHL draft season.
--- UPDATE, 7 p.m.
It's a busy offseason news day for the Tips, as the team announced that assistant coach Mark LeRose is stepping down to become the general manager of the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL.
LeRose, who was in his second stint as an assistant with the Tips (his previous was from 2007-09), spent just one season in Everett this time around. He reunites with former Everett assistant Jay Varady, who is the Musketeers' head coach.
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