Chiefs overage players down to four Aug 25, 2015 16:39:32 GMT -8
Post by David on Aug 25, 2015 16:39:32 GMT -8
Defenceman Nick Charif was one of 7 Chiefs overagers prior to Monday (photo credit: Colin Mulvany)
Prior to training camp, the Spokane Chiefs had a major problem regarding their roster: which overage players would make the roster? Going into this week, the Chiefs had seven 1995-born players. Since WHL rules have it that all clubs can only have three 20 year old players on the roster, the Chiefs had to figure out who to let go and who to keep.
That logjam has thinned out now after the Chiefs announced on Monday that D Nick Charif, C Blair Oneschuk, and LW Devon McAndrews will not return for the 2015-16 season.
In the press release by the team, Chiefs GM Tim Speltz said, "All three players have different reasons for moving on and we wish them the best in their future endeavors."
Charif chose to forgo his overage season and utilize his WHL Education Fund scholarship by attending Western University in London, Ontario. He was traded to the Chiefs during the 2014-15 season in exchange for defenceman Colton Bobyk. He was plagued by injuries in his three-year WHL career. With the Rebels and the Chiefs, Charif scored 6 goals and 26 assists. His goals, assists, and point totals in 27 games with the Chiefs nearly matched his career highs in 2013-14 with the Rebels, in which played 57 games that season.
McAndrews was released by the team and cleared waivers. Speltz said that McAndrews will play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League for the upcoming season. He was acquired early in the 2014-15 season from the Tri-City Americans in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. McAndrews was originally drafted by the Medicine Hat Tigers before his rights were acquired by Tri-City in 2012. He finishes his career in the WHL with 8 goals, 8 assists, and 16 points with a +/- rating of -22 in his two-year career.
Oneschuk has chosen to retire from hockey. He's reportedly moving on to focus on his future career. The Spokesman-Review reports that he'll pursue an electrical trade apprenticeship in Calgary, Alberta. The left winger was plagued by injuries in his two-year career with the Chiefs and played a total of 80 games. He scored a total of 9 goals and 7 assists.
The departures of Charif, McAndrews and Oneschuk leave four players competing for the overage spots: LW Adam Helewka, RW Riley Whittingham, D Jason Fram and G Garret Hughson.
Helewka and Fram look to be locks on the Chiefs roster. Helewka had a career year in 2014-15, with career highs in games played (69), goals (44), assists (43) and points (87), ranking him 8th overall in scoring. Fram also had a career season in 2014-15. The team captain was 3rd in the WHL in scoring with 9 goals, 53 assists, and 62 points.
That means the battle for the final spot will be between Whittingham and Hughson. Wittingham scored career high 19 goals, but was on the ice for more goals against, going from 16 in the plus/minus category in 2013-14 to -7 last season.
Hughson was the backup to goalie Eric Williams in the first two seasons of his career, getting his chance to be the #1 goaltender this past season. He was 23-23-3-1 with 2.80 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.
The Chiefs will begin their Fall Training Camp on August 27th.
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