EVERETT — For the first time in nearly a decade the Everett Silvertips enter the season without certainty with their goaltending. Therefore, on Thursday they took a step to increase their chances of finding a worthy successor.
Everett added to its goaltending stable Thursday when the Tips acquired goaltender Koen MacInnes from the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for winger Brendan Lee in a swap of 19-year-olds.
MacInness, a native of Burnaby, B.C., was originally a second-round selection by the Blades in the 2017 WHL draft. The 6-foot-2, 196-pounder has two seasons of WHL experience, spending the past two campaigns serving as Nolan Maier’s backup in Saskatoon. Last season he appeared in seven games, going 4-2-1 with a 2.57 goals-against average and .912 save percentage. MacInnes was in line to back up Maier again as Maier enters his fifth season as the Blades’ No. 1 goaltender.
“James (Jensen, Everett’s goaltending coach) had a really good chance to evaluate his game, and we also utilized (former Saskatoon head coach and former Everett assistant coach) Mitch Love and picked his brain a bit,” Everett general manager and head coach Dennis Williams said. “He’s a bigger goalie who’s athletic, efficient, and he played in an number of games (in Saskatoon), though he wasn’t the starter.”
Everett is looking to replace what’s been a historic run in net. Dustin Wolf, the two-time reigning WHL Goaltender of the Year and a three-season starter in net for the Tips, won’t be back for his 20-year-old season as he’ll be playing professionally in the Calgary Flames organization. His predecessor, Carter Hart, spent three-plus seasons as Everett’s No. 1, winning three WHL Goaltender of the Year awards in the process. Austin Lotz was the entrenched starter two seasons prior to that.
Now, Everett has a full-on competition in net. Everett has two goalies returning from last year, 18-year-old Braden Holt and 17-year-old Evan May. Holt has long been considered Wolf’s successor, and he was selected by USA Hockey as its No. 3 netminder for the U-18 World Championships last spring. However, while Holt spent the past two seasons as Wolf’s backup, he has just 10 games of WHL experience. May, who served as Everett’s No. 3 last season, has just five minutes of WHL ice time.
The addition of MacInnes gives Everett another option, one who has more than three times as much WHL game time as the two returners combined.
“With Holt coming back as a third-year guy, and May as well, we just felt with where we were with goaltender signings that we needed to have healthy competition,” Williams said. “We’re really confident in the two guys we had, but we felt we needed one more goalie in the rotation to battle and push for the No. 1 spot with the two guys returning.”
To acquire MacInnes the Tips had to part with a talented offensive player in Lee. The 5-foot-11, 194-pound Seattle native spent the past two seasons with Everett, flashing hints of elite offensive skills. However, Lee had yet to break out in a big way for Everett — last season he had two goals and four assists in 17 games — and the Tips are deep in the 2002-born age group.
“Brendan to me has the potential to be a 20-30 goal scorer in our league, and he’s a high-character individual,” Williams said. “But he needs to play and have a spot on the power play where he can shoot and score goals. Saskatoon had great interest, and this is a great opportunity for him. This is never fun to do, especially in a situation where Brendan was a complete team player. Hopefully it gives him another jolt and he’s able to continue to score goals like I know he can.”