Notes from today’s Silvertips exit meetings:
– Three Everett players are heading to the AHL to complete their seasons in the professional ranks. Forwards Jujhar Khaira and Joshua Winquist are joining the Oklahoma City Barons, while defenseman Mirco Mueller is joining the Worcester Sharks. Khaira (Edmonton) and Mueller (San Jose) had already signed pro contracts with the NHL teams that drafted them. Winquist is joining the Barons after signing an amateur tryout contract today.
– The Tips will also be represented at the U-18 World Championships as forward Ivan Nikolishin is joining up with Russia’s entry. The tournament is April 17-27 in Lappeenranta and Imatra, Finland.
– The players were actually on the ice today. The players went though some brief testing to provide a baseline for next season. This is the first time I can remember the Tips ever doing this.
– Everett coach Kevin Constantine had some very interesting things to say. One of the things that stood out is he said the level of coaching in the league has improved dramatically since his last stint with Everett in 2003-07. While this doesn’t surprise me, it was interesting to hear Constantine verify that. Frankly, I think Constantine is partially responsible for this development as he upped the ante considerably when he arrived in 2003.
– Constantine also said something interesting about overage center Manraj Hayer. He said that when Hayer was in the lineup the team won, and when he wasn’t in the lineup the team lost. I looked it up and sure enough, Everett was 34-12-5-2 in games in which Hayer played during the regular season, while the Tips went 5-11-2-1 in games he missed. Everett also lost the two games in which Hayer was injured. I’m not sure I would say Hayer was the team’s most important player, but the evidence suggests his presence made a significant difference.
– Everett will apparently be able to participate in the import draft again this summer, despite already having two Euros. The exemption the Tips received last year because Mueller was selected from Everett in the first round of the NHL draft is still in effect. Should this stand, hopefully a solution is found that prevents last September’s fiasco, when Finnish winger Waltteri Hopponen ended up barred from playing in the CHL.
– The Tips are still waiting on 2013 first-round bantam pick Tyson Jost. Jost, whose midget team is still playing as it won the B.C. championship, had a record-breaking season with the Okanagan Rockets. He’s the most important fish in Everett’s prospect pond, and the Tips are hoping Jost will make a decision once his season is complete.
My annual season-ending blog series will be coming soon. I have to get the season-ending stories for the paper out of the way first. The blog posts will probably begin later this week.