By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — This weekend, the Everett Silvertips get their first opportunity to size themselves up against someone else.
Everett begins its preseason schedule today with the Everett Silvertips Preseason Classic. The tournament, which includes all five Western Hockey League U.S. Division teams plus Victoria, continues through Sunday, with three games each day at Comcast Arena.
The Tips spent the past eight days battling against one another in practices and scrimmages. But this weekend gives new head coach Kevin Constantine his first chance to see how his players stack up against WHL opposition.
Everett’s first game is at 7 tonight against Victoria. The Tips play Spokane on Saturday and Portland on Sunday.
Seven players who spent the week practicing with Everett have been reassigned and will not take part this weekend. All are prospects who were not candidates for the team this season: forwards Tyson Jost and Nick White, defensemen Arsh Shergill, Jordan Wharrie, Alex Astasiewicz and Ryan Warner, and goaltender Carter Hart. Jost, Everett’s first-round pick in this year’s bantam draft, departed without signing a WHL education contract with the Tips.
Jujhar Khaira, a 19-year-old power forward, also won’t take part this weekend. Khaira, who practiced with the team throughout the week, remains on the roster but will be preparing for training camp with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
That leaves Everett with 29 players available for this weekend’s games, including 17 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.