By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
The Jesse Sinatynski experiment is over . . . at least for now.
The WHL’s Kamloops Blazers released Sinatynski, an 18-year-old forward, from their roster on Thursday, although he will stay on their protected list.
The Blazers gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 2011 fifth-round draft pick in exchange for Sitanyski on Oct. 13. He played in three games with the Blazers, scoring one goal, and was a healthy scratch in the other.
A native of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Sinatynski is expected to end up with an AJHL team. He was a 13th-round pick by the Wheat Kings in the WHL’s 2007 bantam draft.
“I made the deal the day before the waiver draft,” Blazers general manager Craig Bonner explained, referring to the day when each WHL team had to get down to a maximum of three 20-year-old players. “I didn’t think (Shayne) Neigum was going to be available.”
Neigum, 20, was placed on waivers by the Chilliwack Bruins and the Blazers claimed him.
“I thought we needed one more forward,” Bonner said. “When Neigum became available, we ended up with too many guys again.”
In Sinatynski, Bonner was looking for the player he had watched total 64 points and 154 penalty minutes with a midget AAA team in Fort Saskatchewan two seasons ago.
“He played with a lot of passion,” Bonner said. “I knew he wasn’t a great skater, but he was a real competitive guy.
“The one thing I really liked about him was his passion for the game. He was that kind of player and he made up for his deficiencies with that. It just seems that that has been lost. That happens to some players.”
Last season, with the Wheat Kings as the host team for the Memorial Cup, Sinatynski got into just 27 games, putting up 10 points and six penalty minutes.
“After his year in Brandon, it seems he lost a bit of that competitive edge that we were looking for,” Bonner said. “After watching him, it seems the passion is gone.”
Bonner, now with 24 players on his roster, didn’t want to have an 18-year-old who was in and out of the lineup.
“For his own sake he needs to go back to junior A and play and try to find that passion again,” Bonner said. “Hopefully, he can go and have some success and we’ll see.
“It’s in his hands what he wants do do.”
When the Blazers opened training camp in late August, they were faced with a real lack of depth at the goaltending position.
That doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.
The Blazers now hold the rights to nine goaltenders, including Jeff Bosch, 20, and Jon Groenheyde, 19, who are on their roster, and Josh Thorimbert, 18, who is a freshman with the Colorado College Tigers.
Also on the Kamloops protected list are Cole Cheveldave, 17, of the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons; John Keeney, 17, with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers; Braden Krogfoss, 15, who is playing midget AAA in Cloverdale; Scott Lapp, 15, who is playing midget AAA in Semiahmoo; Troy Trombley, 16, who is with a midget AAA team in Fort Saskatchewan; and, Taran Kozun, 16, with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.
The Blazers placed Cheveldave on their list following the AJHL’s Showcase Weekend early in October, while Lapp earned a spot on the list with a strong performance in the Blazers’ training camp.
“The plan was to draft two goaltenders,” Matt Recchi, the Blazers’ director of player personnel, said. They were only able to draft one — Krogfoss — so a decision was made to “list the best one out of camp.”
“Lapp was real good at camp,” Recchi said, noting that “we kept him through to main camp. He was that good.”
Keeney, who is from Twin Peaks, Calif., is 2-1 with a 1.92 GAA and .927 save percentage in three games with Omaha. He now is partnered with Todd Mathews, 20, who was dropped by the WHL’s Kootenay Ice at the 20-year-old deadline. Mathews, from Covina, Calif., lost his only start with the Lancers.
Thorimbert, from Saskatoon, is one of three goaltenders with the Tigers, the others being sophomore Joe Howe and senior Tyler O’Brien. Howe has started five of the Tigers’ six games and is 2-2-1, 1.99, .928. Thorimbert gave up three goals on 19 shots in winning his one start.
JUST NOTES: The Blazers are at home Saturday, 7 p.m., to the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . F Matthew Needham, the Blazers’ first pick in the 2010 WHL bantam draft, has 19 points, including nine goals, in 18 games with the Penticton-based Okanagan Hockey Academy U-18 prep team. He picked up nine points in his last three games. . . . F Cody DePourcq, who is on the Blazers’ list and also is at OHA, has 21 points, including 13 goals, in 19 games.
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