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Hedley Impressed With Young Talent

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Players trying out for the Dauphin Kings will have three chances to impress the team’s coaching staff following this weekend’s training camp.

The three-day camp culminated with Team White scoring a 4-2 win over Team Navy in Sunday afternoon’s JoFo Cup intrasquad game.

Kings head coach and general manager Doug Hedley liked what he saw throughout the weekend, noting the players invited from the prospects camp showed really well.

“All the local guys, we’re very happy with their development. I think some of the kids we brought in, played well. (Nicholas) Frederick and (Nick) Braun played well. And then the big U.S. kids, (Luke) Morris and (Tanner) Brouwer and (Keaton) Woolsey in net, we’re impressed with the talent level,” he said. “Andy Kubas has done a good job for us in Minneapolis and brought in three real good kids.”

The Kings, Hedley said, will be young up front and will have to rely on scoring by committee to start the year.

“But I think we have some real good mobility on the back end, especially with (Parker) Malchuk and (Colby) Jaquet and (Owen) Wareham back. And the guys that have come in have fit in real well,” he said.
Noticable by their absence are top-line forwards Nakodan Greyeyes and Austin Lamotte.

Hedley is looking to move Lamotte to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), because he wants to be closer to his girlfriend and family. “We’re looking at making a deal with Kindersley, where (former Kings assistant coach) Mitch Topinka is,” he said. “He’s a max PDF (player development fee) player. He’s a top three player here. He’ll be a top three player there. So we should get something back, if not player wise then definitely a PDF.”

Greyeyes, meanwhile, has joined the Austin Bruins of the North American Hockey League.

“He chose to go to the NAHL so we’ll just move on and fill in the middle hole,” Hedley said.

The Kings will ice a rookie-laden lineup in their first preseason tilt, Tuesday, when they host the Swan Valley Stampeders at 7:30 p.m.

The Kings will lose some players to Western Hockey League camps and the veterans will make it into the lineup for the final two exhibition games, Thursday in Swan River and Saturday in Waywayseecappo.

“We only get three exhibition games, so we’ll give the vets two good shots at it, get the goalies down to three and then be ready to open the season,” Hedley said.

The players, Hedley said, have all adjusted well to the public health orders put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The only player the Kings are waiting on is Mathew Rathbone, a 20-year-old forward from Alberta, who played with the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings last season.

“He’ll be fully vaccinated by the middle of the month. Everybody else is fully vaccinated,” Hedley said.

Prior to camp, the Kings re-acquired forward Ethan Williment from the Selkirk Steelers for a second round draft ick in 2022. Williment was part of a package sent to Selkirk at the 2019-20 trade deadline in exchange for Jaquet.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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