Daily News Sports Editor
Jordan DePape may get to play in the WHL again, after all.
DePape, 20, left the Kamloops Blazers on Nov. 17 and underwent shoulder surgery in Winnipeg on Nov. 26. He isn’t likely to return to game action before mid-March, but he was picked up as a free agent by the Red Deer Rebels on Thursday.
It was quite a turn of events for DePape who, earlier in the day, thought he was
DePape also said there was “interest in the USHL” and added that he had heard from Bob Green, the Edmonton Oil Kings’ general manager. DePape’s chances of joining Edmonton went by the wayside when Green acquired forward Trevor Cheek, 20, from the Vancouver Giants.
Last season, DePape had surgery on his left shoulder and was limited to 14 regular-season games. He returned in time for the playoffs and put up 14 points in 11 games. This season, he had six points in 17 games, but just one goal in his last eight outings when he was forced to stop playing.
When DePape left the Blazers, it was thought the surgery on his right shoulder would be season-ending. However, he has since learned that he should be able to return in mid-March.
Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ owner, general manager and head coach, obviously is willing to wait.
Before grabbing DePape, Sutter was working to get veteran forward Adam Kambeitz, 20, back in the fold. The Rebels had dealt Kambeitz, who was their captain, to the Saskatoon Blades in October. But the Blades acquired forward Michael Ferland, 20, from the Brandon Wheat Kings yesterday, giving up a 2013 first-round bantam draft pick, and had to move one of their other 20-year-olds. That player turned out to be Kambeitz.
“I knew that Saskatoon was going to move Kambeitz and he was certainly someone we were interested in getting and bringing him back,” Sutter told Greg Meachem of the Red Deer Advocate. “Unfortunately Saskatoon didn’t want to move him to another team in this conference.”
Saskatoon traded Kambeitz to the Seattle Thunderbirds for a 2014 third-round bantam draft pick. When that happened, Sutter called DePape.
DePape said he expects to hear from Sutter today, at which time they will begin to chart the recovery process that will lead to his going to Red Deer. DePape will join forward Turner Elson and defenceman Brandon Underwood, a former teammate in Kamloops, as the Rebels’ 20-year-old players.
In the meantime, DePape is back doing some off-ice workouts and hopes to resume skating in two weeks.
The Rebels are scheduled to play in Kamloops on Feb. 9. DePape may not be with them then, but he may return later in February as part of a juvenile diabetes promotion, the details of which have yet to be released.
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