By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
With two 20-year-old forwards on the shelf with long-term injuries, the Kamloops Blazers dealt for Joey Kornelsen, 19, from the Calgary Hitmen on Friday.
Willick suffered a broken right ankle on Nov. 2 and isn’t expected to play again until after Christmas.
Jordan DePape missed most of last season with a left shoulder injury for which he underwent surgery on Nov. 4. He injured his right shoulder on Sunday in a 3-1 loss to the Winterhawks in Portland. While he continues to be evaluated by medical staff, head coach Guy Charron said yesterday afternoon that he fears DePape has a long-term injury.
DePape missed six games earlier in the season with an injury to his right shoulder. Prior to last night’s game against the visiting Portland Winterhawks, DePape said he doesn’t know the severity of this injury and that he hopes to know more on Monday.
DePape said he was killing a penalty on Sunday when he “stood up on (Ty) Rattie at the red-line. It wasn’t even a hard hit.”
DePape added that he has skated since being injured and said it was “OK.” But he admitted to feeling discomfort “randomly.”
“But,” he added, “it’s not a full dislocation.”
The 6-foot-1, 1971-pound Kornelsen, a native of Abbotsford, was the Moose Jaw Warriors’ first selection, 33rd overall, in the 2008 bantam draft. He played two seasons with the Warriors (2009-11) before being traded to Calgary 12 games into last season.
Dave Hunchak, the Blazers’ associate coach, was Moose Jaw’s head coach during Kornelsen’s two seasons with the Warriors.
Hunchak said yesterday that Kornelsen is a physical player “and a great kid, as well.”
History shows that Kornelsen won’t provide much in the way of scoring — he had career highs in goals (11) and assists (14) in 61 games with Moose Jaw in 2010-11 — but adds veteran depth and some grit that is so necessary if the Blazers are to make a deep playoff run.
In 187 career regular-season games, Kornelsen has 62 points, 24 of them goals. This season, he has four assists in 18 games.
Kornelsen didn’t play in Kamloops’ 6-4 victory over Portland last night but should play tonight against the visiting Prince George Cougars.
With Willick and DePape both out, the Blazers are down to one 20-year-old — left-winger Brendan Ranford. Should the Blazers put Willick or DePape on the 30-day injury list, they could bring in one or two 20-year-olds (each team is allowed to have three on the active roster). Once an injured 20-year-old player returns, a team has 14 days in which to get back down to three.
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