I’ve been asked about why the Tips decided to trade winger Linden Penner. Everett didn’t have an overabundance of forwards. His size, along with his invitation to rookie training camp by the NHL’s Calgary Flames, made him an intriguing player. But the Tips instead sent him to Calgary for a bantam draft pick. To my knowledge there were no off-ice issues, and I don’t think Penner asked for a trade.
So do I know the reason why the Tips moved Penner? Truthfully, no. The unusual timing of the trade’s announcement means I haven’t had a chance to ask Tips general manager Garry Davidson yet. But do I see a rationale? Maybe. Everett’s made a number of tough calls on players to get down to it’s current 24-player roster, and if one examines those choices there does seem to be a pattern.
I would say Everett’s made four roster moves that were either difficult decisions or raised a few eyebrows. The two difficult choices were the import and overager decisions. Everett had three good Euros and had to get down to two, and the Tips had four good overagers and had to get down to three. The two eyebrow raisers were the Penner trade, along with reassigning former first-round bantam pick Ty Mappin.
Looking at all four moves, I’d say the common thread is skating.
The Euro decision basically came down to a choice between Ivan Nikolishin and Waltteri Hopponen. The overage decision basically came down to a choice between Manraj Hayer and Reid Petryk. In keeping Nikolishin and Hayer, the Tips in both cases chose the better skater, though there were also other factors that were involved. As for Penner and Mappin, both have qualities that would have been valuable — Penner’s size and presence in front of the net, Mappin’s pure skill. But for both players skating is not their strong suit. I can’t say for certain that skating was the deciding factor in all these moves, but it does seem to be a common thread.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. When Garry Davidson was hired as Everett’s general manager, the first thing he mentioned when asked about what he’s looking for in a player is the ability to skate. From my viewpoint, it seems Everett’s roster moves follow the plan Davidson put in place from the start.