There is likely to be a lot of movement on the WHL’s goaltending front before, say, mid-October. And the Prince George Cougars made a move in that direction Monday with the acquisition of Morgan Clark, 20, from the Swift Current Broncos.
In exchange for Clark, the Broncos got a conditional 2011 bantam draft pick.
At the same time, the Cougars announced that G Hudson Stremmel, who left the Colorago College Tigers to join them last season, won be back for a second go-round. According to the Cougars, Stremmel “has decided to remain in Reno, Nevada, to focus on his education.”
Clark, the son of former Vancouver Canucks goaltending coach Ian Clark, was 24-14-1-2 with a 2.92 GAA and a .907 save percentage with the Broncos last season. He also has played for the Red Deer Rebels.
Stremmel, who is from Reno, went 6-26-3 with a 4.06 GAA and a .887 save percentage with the Cougars.
Stremmel was one of six goaltenders to play for the Cougars last season, joining Luke Siemens (one game played), Alex Wright (18), Kyle Jahraus (10), James Priestner (12) and Michael Salmon (4).
The acquisition of Clark would seem to signal that Wright, a 20-year-old from Prince George, won’t be back.
The other 20-year-olds still on the Cougars’ roster include F James Dobrowolski, F Taylor Orser, F Parker Stanfield, D Kurt Torbohm and Jahraus.
As things now sit, the Broncos will bring back Mark Friesen, 20, as their starting goaltender. He is one of four 20-year-olds on their roster, the others being F Justin Dowling, F Stepan Novotny and D Travis Bobbee. . . . Novotny, who is from Czech Republic, would be a two-spotter should he return and keep his spot on the roster.
D Radko Gudas of the Everett Silvertips has signed three-year contract with Tampa Bay. The Czech, who was third-round pick in 2010 NHL draft, became one of the Western Conference’s most-despised players in his freshman season, thanks to some thunderous open-ice hits and a willingness to mix it up. He apparently displayed that same style during Tampa Bay’s development camp last month. . . . Gudas, 20, had 37 points and a team-leading 151 penalty minutes in 65 games with Everett last season. He also led the Silvertips in plus-minus, at plus-45. . . . Gudas’s signing would seem to indicate that the Lightning has him ticketed for its AHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, this season. He could still return to Everett, of course, but should he come back he would be a two-spotter -- an import and a 20-year-old.
THE COACHING GAME:
It used to be that pretty much every hockey team, from the junior A level on up, had its coaching staff in place about a week after the NHL draft. Those days, though, seem to be long over. Consider all of these coaching happenings from Monday . . .
Riley Cote (Prince Albert, 1998-2002) has ended his playing career and signed on as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms. He played in 156 NHL games, all with the Philadelphia Flyers, totalling 14 points, including eight goals, and 241 penalty minutes. The Phantoms are the Flyers’ AHL affiliate.
Jon Cooper, the head coach of the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers for the last two seasons, is the new head coach of the Norfolk Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. The Gamblers went 97-33-9 (.738) in Cooper’s two seasons as head coach. Cooper is a native of Prince George.
Former WHL player and coach Drew Schoneck, now the head coach of the USHL’s Tri-City Storm, has added to his coaching staff with the hiring of Lenny Hofmann. For the last two seasons, Hofmann, 30, was an assistant coach at College of St. Scholastica, an NCAA Division III school in Duluth, Minn.
Kevin Higo, an assistant coach with the Moose Jaw Warriors for the last two seasons, now is on the staff of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Higo, 40, is already at work with the Screaming Eagles, who open camp Aug. 17. Higo will work alongside GM/head coach Mario Durocher.
Mike Egenes of Pantagraph.com is reporting that Jarrod Skalde has resigned before starting his third season as head coach of the Bloomington Prairie Thunder, which is moving from the IHL to the Central league this season. Egenes reports that the Prairie Thunder will announce the move on Tuesday.