Raiders GM Campese reviews team's roster player-by-player

Andrew
Andrew Schopp
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THE GRADUATES:

The Raiders say goodbye to last season’s overagers, backstop Cole Cheveldave, defenceman Graeme Craig and forward Collin Valcourt.

POTENTIAL OVERAGERS:

The Raiders have their pick of the litter of three of seven 20-year-olds to add to the lineup next season. The pack includes:

C - Calder Brooks

6’0, 185 pounds

2013-2014 - 35 GP, 7G, 7A, 6 PIM 

DH: Brought into the fold at the WHL trade deadline from the Calgary Hitmen, the two-way centre made an immediate impact for the Raiders at both ends of the ice.

BC: Hard working, two-way, real classy individual. We felt that when we got him his demeanour is excellent. He really approaches things the right way. He’s a solid two-way centre who’s responsible and does all the little things right.

RW - Dakota Conroy

6’1, 181 pounds

2013-2014 - 66 GP, 30G, 31A, 24 PIM 

DH: Meshed well with the Raiders No. 1 centre Leon Draisaitl on the top line as he scored a career high 30 goals last season. Points came in bunches for the slick winger, as he went on eight separate scoring streaks coupled with an 11-game drought. 

BC: Dakota had a real good year, much more consistent than the previous season. He will be 20 and we have a number of decisions to make as far as that situation goes but for a player who scored 30 goals and played comfortably on a line with Draisaitl, you got to think he’d be a leading candidate.

LW - Chance Braid 

6’1, 206 pounds

2013-2014 - 72 GP, 7 G, 17 A, 93 PIM

DH: No other Raider dropped the gloves more than Braid last season as the hard-nosed winger found himself adding grit to the team’s top line throughout the campaign.  

BC: He brings an element to our team that a lot of teams just don’t have. He’s a guy most teams in the league fear. He’s a big body player that when he is playing at his best is a physical, dominant player. Chance skates very well, is not afraid to take the body and creates open ice. That was the mindset with having him with Leon. 

C - Shane Danyluk 

5’11, 195 pounds

2013-2014 - 71 GP, 7 G, 17 A, 29 PIM

DH: The Raiders consummate hardest working player scored a career-high 24 points last season as he anchored the team’s penalty killing unit up front.

BC: Shane’s an interesting guy because he’s been here since he was 16. He’s a leader on our team, works extremely hard day-in-day-out. He’s a guy who we would like to see greater numbers from. He has a lot of offensive ability that we see every day in practice and sometimes it doesn’t translate into games. He provides the character and leadership you look for in a 20.

RW - Jayden Hart

6’2, 209 pounds

2013-2014 - 59 GP, 14 G, 28 A, 66 PIM

DH: Despite a season riddled with injuries and suspensions, Hart scored a career-high 42 points last season as he brought his brand of black and blue two-way play to the Raiders top six.

BC: He plays the game hard and when he does injuries are a part of that.  With his size and what he’s able to bring in different areas of the game, I would think he’s a leading candidate to be a 20. He’s a little unpredictable and I think that’s a valuable thing to have in a player.  We don’t want to take that away.

LW - Carson Perreaux 

6’3, 194 pounds

2013-2014 - 72 GP, 18 G, 11 A, 41 PIM

DH: While always willing to drop the gloves and stand up for his team, Perreaux showed flashes of possessing outstanding stickhandling abilities to drive the puck to the net. Perreaux consistently contributed offensively last season, demonstrating top line capability with his high end speed.

BC: Carson had a real good year. He was a list player a couple of years ago that made our team right out of training camp. He improved as far as goal production from last season. He is a big player, I would like to see him play a little more physically.

D - Sawyer Lange 

6’0, 193 pounds

2013-2014 - 71 GP, 7 G, 44 A, 30 PIM

DH: With a career high 44 assists last season, more than double his previous numbers, Lange demonstrated outstanding passing skills. A slick defenceman who possesses solid offensive instincts, the pairing of Lange and captain Josh Morrissey anchored a strong Raiders power play last season.  

BC: He was a big reason our power play was very efficient. He plays extremely hard, sees the ice, passes the puck and has worked really hard at different aspects of his game. I think the consistency of his game at times needs to be better; that’s the one aspect as a 20 year old we’d like to see. He’s our lone 20-year-old on the back end so he is a very serious contender to be with our team next year.

19-YEAR-OLDS:

(Born in 1995)

C - Leon Draisaitl

6’1, 209 pounds

2013-2014 - 64 GP, 38 G, 67 A, 24 PIM

DH: Possessing a unique combination of size and natural ability, the German forward proved why some believe he has the potential to go first overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in June. Placing fourth overall in league scoring last season, Draisaitl carried the Raiders offensive load with his outstanding vision and passing ability. 

BC: What can I say about Leon? Leon was phenomenal. It’s not common for players in our league to score more than 100 points and he is one of the few guys that accomplished that feat. He had a great draft season, he did all the things he needed to do. He’s a very humble, respectful kid that is very endeared by our organization and by our fan base. For Leon the biggest question people want to know is will he be back? Obviously I don’t have that answer, that’ll be determined by who he is drafted by and what they feel is in his best interest.   

D - Josh Morrissey

6’0, 185 pounds

2013-2014 - 59 GP, 28 G, 45 A, 59 PIM

DH: The only Raider with a NHL contract in his pocket, Morrissey was one of the league’s best offensive-defencemen, scoring a career high 73 points last season. Anchoring the Raiders power play unit, the team’s captain continued to display great offensive ability while effectively moving the puck in the back end.

BC: It’s not easy to be a captain with high expectations and I thought he did a real good job maintaining an even keel. Honestly, if he had played a full season, he would have led the league in (defenceman) scoring. He’s up in the AHL right now, every game he plays at that level, he’ll get better and better.  If he comes back, I know he’ll embrace it and he’ll work at being the best he can to help us move forward. The Winnipeg Jets will make the right choice for him and the organization.

D - Tomas Andrlik

6’0, 185 pounds

2013-2014 - 71 GP, 2 G, 18 A, 52 PIM 

DH: A surprise winner of the Raiders Rookie of the Year Award, Andrlik adjusted well to the North American game in his rookie WHL season. A solid puck moving d-man, Andrlik proved capable of eating up minutes paired with fellow young gun Mackenze Stewart.

BC: Tomas as a first-year Euro came over and adapted very well. He played in our top-four all year long and that’s not an easy chore for a guy coming from overseas. I think as a second year Euro, he is very committed, he’s working his tail off, he wants to come back and I do believe that the payoff with Euros is usually the second year. I really think that with added responsibility on his plate we can see a breakout season for him.

LW - Craig Leverton

5’10, 194 pounds

2013-2014 - 50 GP, 4 G, 4A, 31 PIM 

DH: Acquired in a trade with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2013, the high-energy winger from Debden added experience to a fourth line of young guns last season, often skating with rookies Gage Quinney and Matteo Gennaro.

BC: There’s lot of potential in Craig. When he first got here he put some points on the board, he was very energetic. I think that he tailed off and got a little bit complacent; it’s something we’ve talked to him about. We fully expect him to be a guy that, if he’s committed, he certainly has the skill and the work ethic to be a very good player. 

LW - Gage Quinney

6’0, 181 pounds

2013-2014 - 58 GP, 8 G, 8 A, 5 PIM

DH: The fleet-footed winger from Las Vegas will likely be called on to play in the top six next season. Played a solid two-way game in his rookie season among a strong contingent of Raiders young guns. 

BC: Gage is interesting because he has a lot of skill. When you look at our lineup, taking Leon out of the picture, he is one of our higher skilled individuals. Coming from a Midget-AAA program in Las Vegas, I think he found the adjustment a little more taxing and difficult than anticipated. He did settle in at times and looked very effective. He’s a guy (coming out of training camp) who can really go from minor minutes to major minutes, I do believe there a lot of untapped potential in Gage Quinney. 

D - Mackenze Stewart

6’5, 237 pounds

2013-2014 - 55 GP, 5 G, 4 A, 69 PIM

DH: The biggest physical presence on the team, Stewart proved to be a solid stay-at-home defenceman last season as he continues to develop at a rapid pace.

BC: I thought Mackenze improved a great deal. He’s a big body guy that shed some weight and became lighter on his feet. He was more agile and really became an important player for us. Down the stretch he logged more minutes and was very effective. We are proud of where he is now; he is a player that might surprise people. He will take on a larger role as a 19-year-old in our backend. 

18-YEAR-OLDS:

(Born in 1996)

C - Tim Vanstone

6’0, 202 pounds

2013-2014 - 55 GP, 4G, 7A, 35 PIM

DH: Gritty and hard working, the energetic winger Vanstone played limited minutes in his sophomore year last season. Vanstone brings a great deal of intensity to the ice while occasionally displaying an ability to contribute offensively. 

BC: I think his expectations coming off his 16-year-old year were high and they weren’t met. In saying that, I’m not certain as an organization we did the right thing by keeping him as a 16-year-old. He’s an element, a real big strong kid who can be hard to play against. This is a big year for Tim as far as how he is going to approach the spring and summer. We are going to lose some guys so there is an opportunity for him to move up into the lineup and acquire some minutes.

C - Reid Gardiner

5’11, 185 pounds

2013-2014 - 70 GP, 22 G, 22 A, 39 PIM

DH: A staunch work ethic came through an ugly 19-game goalless drought last season to put the 18-year-old sophomore on the radar of NHL scouts as he enters the 2014 NHL Entry Draft combine in June. Gardiner made a nice progression from his rookie season where he scored 20 points in 54 games. 

BC: Reid started off like gangbusters, he was lighting up, he cooled off and then got hot again at the end. He’s a player that has the ability to score goals. He’s got a great release, he can shoot the puck and if you get it to him in the right spots, more times then not he will find the back of the net. He’s one of the guys we’ll be looking to provide offense on our hockey team. He’s very committed to playing the game and playing it the proper way. 

LW - Darcy Zaharichuk

6’0, 175 pounds

2013-2014 - 52 GP, 7 G, 3 A, 12 PIM 

DH: An unlikely candidate to make the team out of training camp , Zaharichuk showed good hands and a solid work ethics playing fourth line minutes. 

BC: Darcy is a list player that made the team as a walk-on and he did it by working extremely hard. When he was called upon I thought he played extremely well and provided that work ethic and commitment to the game that we’re looking for. I believe in a second year that Darcy can be extremely valuable as far as increased ice time with playing a regular shift and potential penalty killing. Great character kid that works his tail off every day.

17-YEAR-OLDS:

(Born in 1997) 

C - Matteo Gennaro

6’2, 179 pounds

2013 - 2014 - 60 GP, 5 G, 10 A, 14 PIM

DH: In his rookie season, the St. Albert, Alta., product Gennaro showed flashes of top-four capability playing limited minutes on the Raiders fourth line.

BC: He got off to a real good start, after U17s where he played a ton of games; I did think that he fatigued a little bit. He’s a big kid who if he can add some lean muscle mass to his body frame, which I know he will, will be an extremely valuable player. He provides that ability to be real hard to play against. He does a lot of little things right and we are expecting, with increased ice time, increased production.

D - Brendan Guhle

6’2, 178 pounds

2013-2014 - 51 GP, 0 G, 10 A, 29 PIM 

DH: The rookie defenceman struggled to contribute offensively last season however was dependable in the back end as he continues to find his game. As the season progressed, so did Guhle’s game as he played a key role in the Raiders playoff run.

BC: I do believe that he can be a real important piece to the Raiders. As a 16-year-old, his expectations were to come in a play a lot, again, there’s a process to the development of those 16-year-olds. I think he understands that process now. When he was given an opportunity late in the season and in the playoffs he played extremely well. As a matter of fact, his game evolved to where we felt extremely comfortable putting him out in different situations. He’ll be another guy that with added responsibility, I believe will be due for a huge year. 

G - Nick McBride

6’3, 176 pounds

2013-2014 -- 27 GP, 12-7-2, 2.95 GAA, .908 SV%

DH: Although shaky between the pipes at the start of the season, McBride claimed the crease from Cheveldave during the Raiders stretch run into the playoffs. One could argue, the rookie backstop is the sole reason the team made it to the post-season in the first place after he led the Raiders on a 6-3-1 run to close out the regular schedule.

BC: It’s not easy being a 16-year-old and to compound that as a goalie is even more difficult. I thought down the stretch, when we gave him an opportunity to play, he really rose to the occasion. Nick is a winner. He’s a player that is a real thoughtful, proactive type of individual as far as wanting to be better and wanting to be a pro. Having two young goalies (in McBride and AP Rylan Parentau) can be really energizing, exciting and could be a real neat fit. 

andrew.schopp@paherald.sk.ca

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