EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips are set for the start of the 2012-13 Western Hockey League season.
Everett’s personnel moves Monday pared the roster down to 25 players, and barring unforeseen circumstances that will be the team the Tips take into Saturday’s season opener against Prince George at Comcast Arena.
“I believe this will be the team we have at the start of the season, unless something happens between now and Saturday,” Everett general manager Garry Davidson said. “But I don’t foresee anything else happening.”
On Monday, Everett traded defenseman Evan Morden and goaltender Andy Desautels to Prince Albert in exchange for goaltender Cole Holowenko. Then the Tips reassigned goaltender Troy Trombley.
Those moves trimmed Everett’s roster to a manageable number: 15 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies. Those numbers include defenseman Ryan Murray, who is expected to depart for the NHL as soon as the league solves its labor issues.
“For the health and mindset of the group, we needed to get down to some decent numbers,” Everett coach Mark Ferner said. “It’s emotionally difficult, especially with all the young kids here wondering where they sit. Behind closed doors we know where they’re at, but they still felt like they were competing for jobs, and rightfully so. Getting down to some workable numbers is more of a healthy situation for everyone.”
Everett’s roster is young. It includes 11 newcomers, nine of them rookies. It also includes seven 17-year-olds and three 16-year-olds. Those youngsters aren’t just along for the ride; they’re expected to play significant minutes.
“We’ve got a younger group, and the younger people are exciting,” Davidson said. “We’ve got to nurture these guys along, get them heading in the same direction and give them experience. But I’m pretty positive. I’m also excited about Ryan Murray being inserted into the lineup. He’ll have a positive impact, not only on the team but on the individual players.”
The roster also includes a new veteran presence in goal in Holowenko, who was en route to Everett on Tuesday. The 19-year-old Holowenko, who was Prince Albert’s primary net minder last season, was brought in to provide a veteran presence in goal. The lone returning goalie, 17-year-old Austin Lotz, appeared in just 17 games last season as a rookie. Desautels and Trombley have a combined total of 24 minutes of WHL experience.
“We liked Desi, we liked Troy, it was just a matter of where Lotzy is at right now,” Ferner said. “With a young goalie we thought it was important to bring in another experienced guy to share the load with Lotzy.
“You look at the number of games Lotzy has played, and the other two haven’t played yet,” Ferner added. “That’s certainly a position that is very important. You need to have two goalies you feel comfortable with. Not to say Desi and Troy aren’t capable, but at the same time we had a starter who had played 17 games. For the mindset of our group, having someone who has played in the league and won, I think that’s important.”
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.