Tyler Yaworski (behind net, at left) piled up 188 penalty minutes. (POSTMEDIA CALGARY HERALD)
A team expected to be built around defence and goaltending added to its foundation on Thursday.
The Brandon Wheat Kings have added another veteran to their six projected returnees on the blue-line, acquiring overager Tyler Yaworski from the Prince Albert Raiders for a fifth-round pick in next year’s Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.
While the Wheat Kings have plenty of skill on the back end,with Ryan Pulock and Eric Roy both finishing among the top 10 defencemen in WHL scoring last season. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Yaworski’s size and demeanour — he was third in the WHL with 188 penalty minutes last season — add an element of intimidation.
"Tyler will bring a different dimension to our back end than what we had previously," Wheat Kings general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. "We like our defence a lot. We think it’s the strength of our team, but we felt that a player like Tyler would be an important addition to our team."
Yaworski played 71 games for the Raiders last season, with three goals and 17 assists. The Sherwood Park, Alta., native joins defenceman Ryley Miller and forward Dominick Favreau to push the Wheat Kings to the limit of three 20-year-olds on their roster.
Meanwhile, the Wheat Kings have lost the seventh defenceman who was eligible to return. Winnipegger Dylan Kuczek, 18, has told the team he won’t be back. Kuczek had a goal, an assist and 27 penalty minutes in 33 games as a rookie in 2011-12 before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.
"He just wanted to move on and do other things," McCrimmon said. "He had a tough time with injuries and just decided that he wanted to pursue other interests."
ONE-TIMERS: The Wheat Kings open their training camp on Wednesday, Aug. 29, with main camp beginning two days later and the annual intrasquad game set for Sunday, Sept. 2 at 2 p.m. … D Brodie Melnychuk has agreed to his first pro contract after graduating from the Wheat Kings last season, signing with the ECHL’s Trenton Titans … Former Brandon University Bobcat Enio Sacilotto has been re-signed as an assistant coach for the WHL’s Victoria Royals for the upcoming season.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 17, 2012