Welcome back for Part 2 of our six-part series wrap-up of the Everett Silvertips’ 2016-17 season. You can check out Monday’s opening post where I attemped to put the season in perspective.
Lucas Skrumeda was the only one of the six candidates heading into last offseason to finish his career with Everett. The Winnipeg native was a three-year performer for the Tips who partnered with Noah Juulsen on Everett’s top defensive pairing the past two seasons. Skrumeda wasn’t a big point producer, but he was excellent in Everett’s defensive zone and, as a natural left-handed shot, was a complement to Juulsen’s right-handed power.
Skrumeda was an alternate captain and the most loquacious of the bunch. He has a future as a color commentator waiting for him after university if he wants it.
Everett addressed an immediate need after the first weekend of the season when it acquired Dominic Zwerger from the Spokane Chiefs for a third-round bantam pick. Zwerger fit in immediately both on the ice alongside linemates Matt Fonteyne and Patrick Bajkov, and in the dressing room. He scored 28 goals with 47 assists to finish second on the team in both categories.
He also was a personable presence with an infectiously pleasant demeanor and was known to chirp opponents as his English progressed to fluent by the time he reached Xfinity Arena.
“Zwergs is a great player coming over from Spokane and he did a great job for us putting up points and he was a great room guy,” Tips captain Noah Juulsen said. “He was kind of a glue guy in there. He just kept the boys together.”
The former Chief got strong applause and a warm reception during Everett’s final visit to the Spokane Arena on March 8:
— Josh Horton (@JoshHorton22) March 9, 2017
Zwerger also posted a poignant good-bye to Twitter last week before heading back home to Austria:
— dominic zwerger (@DominicZwerger) April 19, 2017
Aaron Irving was a big deadline acquisition when he came over from Edmonton in January. He was the top point producer for the Oil Kings to that point. While he didn’t replicate that offensive output in Everett, he was a vital part of Everett’s blue line depth as the Tips held off Seattle for the division title.
Irving brought a compete level and work ethic that meshed well with the “Warrior” ethos espoused by the Everett coaching staff.
As I noted in the story that ran last week, Irving was an Edmonton native who lived at home for his entire WHL career until the final three months. He said the billeting experience helped him mature and grow as a person.
It was an interesting trio of overagers given that Skrumeda was the only home-grown prospect. That’s a stark contrast to the 2015-16 team that had two home-grown Tips in Carson Stadnyk and C0le MacDonald in addition to Remi Laurencelle, who resurrected his career with two-and-a-half strong seasons in Everett after coming over from Lethbridge in a trade in his 18-year-old season.
Yet both Zwerger and Irving seemed to assimilate seamlessly as the Tips claimed their fifth division title in franchise history.
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