Brandon Wheat Kings centre Tyrel Seaman fires a shot during Monday afternoon’s practice held at the Optimist Arena.
(BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
There may be no NHL training camp to go to for Tyrel Seaman this year, but a huge opportunity awaits right here with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
As one of a half-dozen veterans on what will largely be a young rookie group up front, the 18-year-old power forward will be counted on to centre one of the WHL club’s top two lines this season. After playing in only 32 games last season due to a serious concussion, Seaman is anxiously awaiting the chance to be a key contributor.
"For sure I will have to play a bigger role and produce more offensively, it’s going to be a bit to adjust to after missing so many games, but I feel I will be able to make the adjustment," Seaman said Monday after practice. "There’s lots of room to grow and hopefully I will be playing lots of minutes and I will get that much more of an opportunity to get out there and prove what I can do."
At 6-foot-2 and now up to 217 pounds, Seaman has come into camp bigger and stronger and has impressed new head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk with his off-season commitment.
"Tyrel is going to be a big, important part of our team, on and off the ice," Gylywoychuk said. "You can see it in his conditioning this year that he worked hard in the summer to get in the best shape possible and I think it is continuing on here in pre-season. He is going to be a big part of our forward unit up front, he’s been around the league, he knows the ins and outs of it now and I think he knows the type of player that we need him to be. And I think he is also trying to continue to improve as a player personally and you can see it in how hard he worked this summer ... He is going to be a big part of our team."
Seaman suffered through the disappointment of an injury-shortened sophomore season in which he scored only six goals and notched 19 points in 32 games, but still caught the eye of St. Louis Blues scouts, who selected him in the seventh round (206th overall) of this year’s NHL draft. He attended the Blues’ prospects camp in the summer and was originally slated to leave Saturday — the day the NHL lockout is set to begin — to take part in a rookie tournament in Traverse City, Mich., that has already been cancelled.
"It is disappointing, I was looking forward to getting down there and experiencing the rookie tournament and all that, but with the lockout and everything, they aren’t having it," said Seaman, who also won’t be making the trip to Blues main camp, if it does eventually go ahead. "They called the other day and they said if training camp does go ahead late, they are going to bring down the 25 guys that they figure have the best chance to make the team. So they said any unsigned guys won’t be going down."
However, that has allowed Seaman to focus on taking a leadership role here in Brandon this year.
"I worked out real hard in the off-season," said Seaman, a native of Choiceland, Sask. "When we went down to St. Louis, they had us work out there for the week and showed us what kind of techniques they wanted us using for lifting (weights), so that helped me a lot to get stronger this summer."
Seaman will have to sit out Friday’s pre-season game against the Moose Jaw Warriors at Westman Place after being suspended for one game for boarding last weekend, but is expected to be back in the lineup for the rematch on Saturday in Moose Jaw, Sask.
While this may be a rebuilding year for the Wheat Kings, especially up front, Seaman believes this team has the talent to surprise some people.
"The young guys that we have, there’s lots of skill up front there, and our D core is experienced now and there is lots of talent back there, too," said Seaman. "And we have good goaltending ... so I’m looking forward to it."
ICINGS: With D Ryley Miller back at practice after a bout with the flu last week, C Jayce Hawryluk (concussion) is the lone player on the Wheat Kings’ injured list ... Brandon LW Dominick Favreau and RW Jens Meilleur, who have yet to suit up due to back issues, have both been cleared to play ... The Medicine Hat Tigers acquired D Derek Ryckman, 20, from the Tri-City Americans on Monday for a 2014 fifth-round WHL bantam draft pick. Medicine Hat now has three overagers while Tri-City is down to four ... The Swift Current Broncos have signed head coach and general manager Mark Lamb to a three-year contract extension ... Wheat Kings season ticket holders can pick up their packages today in the Keystone Centre parking lot.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 11, 2012