By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — Matt Pufahl hasn’t been a member of the Everett Silvertips long, but he’s already made an impression — both on and off the ice — and Thursday he was tapped to lead the team going forward.
Pufahl will wear the “C” for the Tips this season as he was named the team’s captain for the 2013-14 campaign.
“It’s a really good honor,” Pufahl said. “I’m not the only leader on this team, everybody on this team is a leader. The guys wearing ‘A’s’ — and even the guys not wearing ‘A’s’ — they’re still all leaders.”
Pufahl is a newcomer to Everett. The 20-year-old defenseman was acquired via trade from his hometown Saskatoon Blades during the offseason. He’s made an immediate impact on the ice, collecting five goals and five assists in eight games and being named the WHL Player of the Week on Monday.
Despite Pufahl’s newness to the team, he was chosen in a vote of the players.
“I was (surprised),” Pufahl said, “but they made it a really easy transition for me. It’s a great group of guys here and as soon as I came here it only took a couple days for this place to feel like home, so give a lot of credit to them.”
Pufahl succeeds Ryan Murray, who served as Everett’s captain the past two seasons. The Tips played the second half of last season without a captain as Murray was out injured.
The Tips named three players as alternate captains. Twenty-year-old forwards Joshua Winquist and Manraj Hayer already were wearing their letters. Nineteen-year-old center Kohl Bauml is wearing a letter for the first time.
Everett’s roster is two players lighter after the Tips traded winger Mitch Skapski to Victoria on Thursday and reassigned defenseman Lucas Skrumeda.
Everett dealt Skapski, a 17-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., to the Royals in exchange for prospect defenseman Mark Nerland. Skapski was in his second season with the Tips after being acquired from Portland in the trade that sent defenseman Seth Jones to the Winterhawks. Skapski had two goals in 34 games last season, but he appeared in just one of Everett’s first nine games this season.
Nerland, also is in his 17-year-old season, plays for the Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He has two assists in eight games. The Okotoks, Alberta, native is not expected to join the Tips this season.
Skrumeda also had a hard time cracking Everett’s lineup. The 17-year-old from Winnipeg, Manitoba, had yet to dress this season. He is joining the Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
The moves leave Everett with 22 players on the roster: 12 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.