With nine players away at NHL camps, the Broncos will be hard pressed to ice a full line-up Friday and Saturday night.
For Broncos fans it really will be a good look at the future of the hockey club. As for the Raiders, only goaltender Steven Sanford will be unavailable due to attending an NHL camp.
We're on the air Saturday night!
That's Tim Tisdale and myself in the broadcast booth. It's the picture which will be used in our Prairie Post promo in the edition leading up to the regular season as we outline this year's broadcast and it's features.
I'm guessing there will be some kinks and some technical problems but we will get that all out of the way in the pre-season rather than opening weekend.
With Nevan "The Champ" Champion back at Eagle control as our game operator we will be in good hands.
A handful of trades in the WHL today as teams try to bolster some deficiencies in the line-up and fill some holes. Nothing on the Broncos front, but something is likely to happen. Dean Chynoweth has made several major moves early in the season since his arrival five years ago.
Here's a refresher of early season moves:
2004/05 - Alex Leavitt/Kyle Annesley to Everett for Barry Horman/Marc Desloges
2005/06 - Jerrid Sauer to Medicine Hat for Dale Wiese/Spencer McAvoy
2007/08 - Paul Postma/Kyle Bortis to Calgary for Keegan Dansereau / Brett Plouffe
2007/08 - Brett Plouffe to Tri-City for Erik Felde
2007/08 - Brady Leavold to Kelowna for conditional draft pick
The Broncos won't make a move to simply just make a move. But, they still have five twenty year-olds likely to return which forces their hand a little.
The First CHL Top 10 rankings were released today. The top WHL contenders are all included (Spokane, Kelowna, Brandon) with the exception of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. To me, the ' Canes are the class of the Eastern Conference heading into the season. However there is still some uncertainty surrounding 20 year-old Mitch Fadden. They will also start the season without Zach Boychuk due to injury.
The Swift Current Broncos are a couple players away from being a legitimate contender but on paper look pretty good.
With Mark Guggenberger and Travis Yonkman in goal, the Broncos presently have the best one-two goaltending punch in the league.
On defense, three of their top four defenseman will have attended NHL camps with the steady Derek Claffey being the lone d-man staying home.
Up front, depending on who stays and who goes, the club should be pretty deep. Their top six forwards are above average (Wiese* / Dansereau* / Tassone/ Eakin/ Wudrick/ Dowling - star denotes over-age player)
They should have a good young energy line centered by Taylor Vause or Dillon Wagner. Throw in hard working European spark plug Jan Dalecky, former 1st round bantam pick Christian Magnus, the thick presence of Mike Brown, veteran 19 year-old Grant Toulmin, new Slovakian import Oliver Jokel, former "AAA" Legionnaire top scorer Jordan Peddle and the return of Brad Hoban (leg) next month.... and they will be fine.
But, if history has shown us anything... don't get too comfortable with the Broncos pre-season line-up...