Rookies Dewar, Skoleski have been impressive for Silvertips early in season

EVERETT — Who will score the goals?

It has become a familiar refrain for the Everett Silvertips and their fans in recent seasons.

So far in the young 2015-16 campaign the rookies have matched the returning veterans in producing their fair share of goals.

Sixteen-year-old Connor Dewar and 18-year-old rookie Devon Skoleski have combined for three of Everett’s six goals thus far in the season. Dewar scored his first career goal in his first WHL game with an open-netter in Everett’s 2-0 season-opening win at Prince George two weeks ago. Dewar then found himself in the starting lineup two nights later when captain Dawson Leedahl was out with an injury.

“A lot of guys don’t get a chance to score in their first WHL game especially when they’re 16,” Dewar said. “I know a lot of guys stress out about it for a long time and it affects their game play and their thought process when it comes to shooting.”

Skoleski scored Everett’s first and third goals in a 3-1 win at Portland on Saturday. His first goal came with assists from fellow rookies Jake Christiansen and Sean Mallonee. The second added insurance at 5:11 in the third period and came off a feed from Cole MacDonald.

“It was a nice play by (MacDonald),” Skoleski said. “He really put it in my wheelhouse.”

Dewar’s rise to prominence wasn’t surprising given that the forward was Everett’s fourth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. Skoleski, however, attended Silvertips training camp as a listed player and signed his WHL standard player agreement on Sept. 9.

“He’s a testimony to the rewards that are around the corner when a strong work ethic meets opportunity,” Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson said in a press release when Skoleski signed. “He gets around the ice very well and has a great skill package. With his history of offensive production, we’re confident his upside will be a tremendous fit.”

Skoleski made the team with an impressive preseason that saw him tally two goals and an assist while playing in six contests.

“It’s tough to put into words but it’s obviously an honor to play here,” Skoleski said. “Just coming in as a listed guy and being where I am right now — it’s nice.”

Standing just 5-foot-9 and weighing 150 pounds Skoleski is not among the larger forwards either with the Silvertips or in the WHL. Still, it was hard to ignore the production he turned in last season when he scored 25 goals with 31 assists in 44 games for the Eastman Selects of the Manitoba Midget Hockey League.

“He produced offense at a different level,” Silvertips head coach Kevin Constantine said. “That doesn’t mean a guy is going to produce offense at this level immediately, but it generally will mean if they have time and a little bit of experience and they get to play in the league two to three years they’ll become the player they were at this level. Devon had nice offensive numbers last year so he’s got that in his potential.”

Skoleski’s 2014-15 season followed another impressive showing the year prior when he scored 12 goals with 14 assists in 32 games for Eastman.

He said the points are nice, but worrying about the numbers isn’t productive as the Silvertips move into the third weekend of the regular season.

“It’s obviously a different league and a different pace of hockey,” Skoleski said. “I got some points back last year, but moving forward I’m just trying to play my best hockey. I’m not really focused on the points.”

Follow Silvertips writer Jesse Geleynse on Twitter @jessegeleynse.

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