© Herald photo by Perry Bergson
Prince Albert Raiders 2011 fourth round bantam draft pick Spencer Meyer watches during practice last December at the Art Hauser Centre. He joined the team for a few games around Christmas. He was dealt on Tuesday.
The Prince Albert Raiders made a deal on Tuesday that’s all about second chances.
They shipped 17-year-old forward Spencer Meyer to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for Craig Leverton, an 18-year-old forward from Debden.
“With Leverton being somewhat of a local kid, we know quite a bit about him, being from Debden and playing minor hockey in the Saskatchewan area. Our scouts have known him and we’ve always kind of liked him,” Raiders GM Bruno Campese says. “He was a high second round draft pick but sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to. He’s played over 100 games and yet I think he would probably tell you himself he wants more and has more of himself to give.
“Sometimes a fresh start is all you need.”
Campese said the Raiders like Meyer but that he is similar to Tim Vanstone in stature and birth date, making the deal easier to pull the trigger on.
In 106 games in the WHL, the 5’10”, 194-pound Leverton has 12 goals, 18 assists and 30 penalty minutes while posting a plus-minus of -1.
Leverton played his midget hockey with the Beardy’s Blackhawks in 2009-10, moving on in 2010-11 to the Saskatoon Contacts, where he scored 10 goals and has 22 assists in 33 games.
Meyer played three games with the Raiders last season. The 6’1”, 187-pound forward from Surrey, B.C., was drafted in the fourth round, 88th overall, of the 2011 WHL bantam draft.
He spent last season with the Grandview Steelers of the Pacific Junior Ice Hockey League, scoring six goals and adding nine assists in 28 games.
“We were actively looking for a ’95 forward with some experience,” Campese said. “If you look at our ’95 age group with Leon (Draisaitl) and (Gage) Quinney, it’s good, yet we want to add more depth. We felt we had more depth in the ’96 age group so it made sense for us to acquire somebody.”
The team is now down to 25 players from the 27 they had on the weekend.
Minnesota-born Josh Passolt was released, mostly because at 5’10”, 148 pounds he was undersized for the league.
The toughest cut had to be Riley Guenther, a 19-year-old veteran defenceman who Campese has always spoken highly of in the past.
“He’s a hard-working character kid who is a pleasure to have around,” Campese said, adding that it wasn’t a prudent move to keep a 1994 player who would be in and out of the lineup.
The Raiders will try to trade him, and if that fails, Campese says that he has heard from many Junior A teams hoping to land him.
The Raiders now have two goalies, eight defencemen and 15 forwards on their roster, one more than the 24 players Campese hoped to have on opening day.
“We definitely do want to get down to 24. Is it an absolute rush to be down to 24 by Friday? No,” Campese says. “We’ll see. We make a decision by then or we may go through the weekend with 25 and sort it out next week.”