Defenceman Shayne Gwinner is no longer a member of the Prince Albert Raiders.
The 6’1, 185-pound Drumheller, Alta., product is now at home awaiting a trade. The 18-year-old has played in nine of the team’s 16 games this year, scoring one goal and earning four penalty minutes. He has a plus/minus rating of minus six on the season.
“It just wasn’t working out,” Raiders general manager Bruno Campese said. “There were expectations for him and it hasn’t been happening. He’s been in and out of the lineup and it’s something we didn’t see getting any better anytime soon with the guys ahead of him playing well.
“In his best interests, and the team’s because it becomes difficult, the decision was made to send him home.”
Gwinner was picked up from the Moose Jaw Warriors on July 6 for a 2013 fourth round pick and a 2014 sixth round pick.
At the time, Campese said the former second round bantam draft pick would be given an opportunity to compete for minutes.
The Raiders’ top three defencemen to start the season were Harrison Ruopp, Josh Morrissey and Antoine Corbin, who signed in the AHL and was replaced by fellow 20-year-old Davis Vandane. With the rapid emergence of Sawyer Lange and the trades for Zach Hodder and Evan Morden, Gwinner found himself in a losing battle for minutes.
“Shayne Gwinner can play but yet right at the moment he hasn’t been able to consistently crack the top six,” Campese said.
The other defenceman is Riley Guenther, who has suited up for 12 games.
The team is currently at 22 players, with two goalies, a 13th forward and a seventh defenceman. Campese doubts that will change for now, adding that while most teams carry 23 on their active roster, some other teams are carrying 22.
“By no means are we in a rush or looking to add anybody to the roster,” he said.
The only player out of the lineup due to injury is forward Reid Gardiner, who is expected to be sidelined for two to three more weeks.
Campese is heading to Calgary for the U-16 tournament and expects to run into other general managers there and he expects to have some conversations about Gwinner.
Campese doesn’t know if a market exists for the defenceman, noting that it can develop pretty quickly with injuries or suspensions.
“I think that he can play in the Western Hockey League. It’s just a matter of supply and demand.”
Gwinner played in 51 games last season with the Warriors scoring twice and adding nine assists along with a plus/minus rating of plus-12 and 51 penalty minutes.
The irony is that Gwinner is a victim of increased depth and talent, which is why he was brought in.
“We want to make the competition as tough as possible at every position,” Campese says, adding that it has also cost former Raiders like Cole Holowenko, Luke Mahura and Jesse Knowler their spots with the club.