By Nick Patterson Herald writer
EVERETT — Everett Silvertips training camp just ended Sunday, yet Everett’s roster is already looking trim.
The Tips took the ice for practice Tuesday for the first time since camp came to its completion, and Everett’s roster is already down to a manageable number of 30.
A total of 17 forwards, nine defensemen and four goaltenders remain with the Tips as they prepare for this weekend’s first preseason games. Considering two of those — defenseman Jantzen Leslie and forward Bryce Kindopp — are 15-year-olds and too young to make Everett’s team this season, the Tips are already closing in on a standard roster of approximately 24 players.
“I thought camp went very well,” Everett general manager Garry Davidson said. “We have a lot of guys back. I think there’s some positive people to add to the group as we go forward, so right now I feel very optimistic and very pleased with where we are. We haven’t played a game yet, either, so we have to be a little careful.”
The 30 doesn’t include a pair of veterans, forward Jujhar Khaira and defenseman Mirco Mueller, who are still listed on Everett’s roster but didn’t attend training camp. Khaira, as a 20-year-old who has signed a contract with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, is almost certain to play this season professionally in the minors. Mueller has also signed an NHL contract, with the San Jose Sharks, but as a 19-year-old drafted out of the WHL he is ineligible to play in the minors. Therefore, he must either make San Jose’s roster or be returned to Everett.
There were no real surprises among those who remain with the Tips. The only player who attended camp and had a realistic chance of making the roster who isn’t still here is 16-year-old goaltender Dayton Rasmussen. Rasmussen, a Minnesota native who is considered one of the top goaltenders in the U.S. in his age group, is still weighing his options between the WHL and the NCAA.
One player who is still in contention to make the team is 16-year-old forward Gunnar Wegleitner. Wegleitner was a training camp invitee who wasn’t on Everett’s 50-player protected list, yet is the only 16-year-old skater still with the team.
Everett is playing three games in three nights in this weekend’s Holiday Inn Preseason Classic at Comcast Arena. Typically the Tips like to keep enough players around so that they minimize the number who have to appear in all three games. But with just 30 players available, including a few who haven’t signed WHL education contracts yet and thus wouldn’t be allowed to play in preseason games, several will likely have to play a lot in all three contests.
“It’s probably about where I expected,” Davidson said about the roster number. “I thought we’d be close to 18 (forwards), 12 (defensemen) and three or four (goaltenders), so we’re pretty close to where I thought we’d be at.”
Davidson said he was hoping to be able to announce some signings later this week.
Here’s who’s still with the team (players listed with their birth year):
Forwards (17) — Kohl Bauml (94), Zane Jones (94), Brayden Low (94), Logan Aasman (95), Remi Laurencelle (95), Carson Stadnyk (95), Chris Stockl (95), Dawson Leedahl (96), Graham Millar (96), Ivan Nikolishin (96), Tyler Sandhu (96), Patrick Bajkov (97), Matt Fonteyne (97), Nik Malenica (97), Addison Runey (97), Gunnar Wegleitner (98), Bryce Kindopp (99).
Defensemen (9) — Ben Betker (94), Cole MacDonald (95), Carter Cochrane (96), Tristen Pfeifer (96), Lucas Skrumeda (96), Kevin Davis (97), Noah Juulsen (97), Jordan Wharrie (97), Jantzen Leslie (99).
Goaltenders (4) — Austin Lotz (95), Nik Amundrud (97), Mario Petit (97), Carter Hart (98).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.