SC Bron­cos’ ros­ter fea­tures many new faces

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Cur­rent - BY BRAD BROWN For the Prairie Post

Last sea­son: 48-17-5-2, sec­ond in East Di­vi­sion, won WHL cham­pi­onship

Head coach & direc­tor of hockey op­er­a­tions: Dean Brock­man (third WHL sea­son, first with team) As­sis­tant coaches: Brandin Cote (first sea­son), Scott Dutertre (first sea­son)

Key losses: Head coach Manny Viveiros (Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers); direc­tor of player per­son­nel Jamie Porter (Ed­mon­ton Oil Kings); for­wards Glenn Gawdin, Mat­teo Gen­naro, Gior­gio Estephan (over-age); D Savhan Khaira (traded to Everett); F Aleksi He­poniemi (signed in Fin­land); and signed NHL draft picks G Stu­art Skin­ner, de­fence­men Colby Sissons and Josh Anderson, and for­wards Tyler Steen­ber­gen and Beck Malen­styn all vy­ing for pro jobs.

The 20-year-olds: For­wards Kaden El­der, Tan­ner Nagel, An­drew Fyten; de­fence­men Ar­tyom Min­ulin and Ryan Pouliot. At least two must be moved out by the Oct. 10 dead­line.

The im­ports: Fin­nish rook­ies F Joona Kiviniemi and D Roope Pyn­nonen. Key re­turnees: El­der (18 goals) and Min­ulin (13) are the only re­turnees who scored more than 10 times last sea­son. Goalie Joel Hofer didn't see much play­ing time be­hind Skin­ner, but nonethe­less was a fourthroun­d pick of the St. Louis Blues at this year's NHL draft.

New faces: Too many to list. The Bron­cos' 25-man ros­ter as of Mon­day in­cluded nine rook­ies and an­other five WHL vet­er­ans who are new to Swift Cur­rent. Rookie Isaac Poul­ter will back up Hofer.

Watch for: Who's go­ing to score the goals. The fi­nal 14 for­wards in camp had a com­bined 112 WHL goals, with 95 of those be­long­ing to four play­ers.

Note­wor­thy: The Bron­cos scored big with each of their three pre­vi­ous Fin­nish im­port picks - G Eetu Lau­rikainen in 2012, D Julius Honka in 2014 and He­poniemi in 2016.

Did you know: Other new faces with the Bron­cos this year in­clude Gary Au­bin (re­plac­ing Jamie Porter), 10 of their 11 scouts and direc­tor of busi­ness op­er­a­tions Nathan MacDon­ald.

Prog­no­sis: The Bron­cos paid hand­somely for last sea­son's cham­pi­onship glory — the third ti­tle in team his­tory and first since 1993. Bar­ring sev­eral break-out sea­sons or sur­prise pro camp re­turnees, it will be a bat­tle to stay out of the East Di­vi­sion base­ment.

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