Blades add another piece to remodel
He’s the latest expensive piece in the remodeling of the Saskatoon Blades.
The Blades relinquished not only a 2014 first-round pick to acquire Nathan Burns from the Vancouver Giants last week, but a third-round selection in 2013 as well as 18-year-old centre Travis McEvoy.
Burns, who had six goals and nine points in 15 games with the Giants and has picked up a single assist in two outings with the Blades, knows his new team paid a steep price for his services. At the same time, he’s determined to show the Blades that he was worth the cost.
“Once I get going and gain some confidence, I feel that I can put the puck in the net,” Burns told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. “I just want to get good chemistry going with the guys.”
Burns is currently centering a line with 20-year-olds Adam Kambeitz, the former Red Deer Rebels captain who was shipped to the Blades in early October, and Brenden Walker.
The six-foot-two, 175-pound Edmonton native had an assist in a 5-4 shootout loss in Lethbridge last Saturday, while Kambeitz scored his first two goals as a Blade the same night.
Blades GM/head coach Lorne Molleken described the line as “dominant” against the Hurricanes and is confident that the trio will be consistently effective as Burns continues to feel more comfortable with his new team.
“Burns is a player that plays extremely hard, sees the ice and is very capable of putting up some numbers,” Molleken said. “He’ll complement them in a way that they can generate more offence. Certainly in the two games he’s played with them, he’s brought out the best in both of those players.”
l Prior to last weekend, Dylan Willick had missed one measly game with the Kamloops Blazers.
That was the night he was a healthy scratch — Nov. 28 of 2009.
While his ego took a hit that night, it didn’t compare to the physical pain he experienced last Friday when he suffered a spiral fracture to his right ankle during the overtime period of an eventual 2-1 shootout victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars.
“My skate kind of got caught in a weird spot,” Willick, a Blazers assistant captain, told the Kamloops Daily News. “I got pushed and my skate stayed where I was . . . my body went the other way.
“I felt it snap. As soon as I went down, I knew something was wrong.”
Willick is slated to return in six weeks. But that would allow him to play just two games prior to the 11-day Christmas break, leaving space for the possibility that he might not be back until after Christmas.
“It’ll be tough to push for before (Christmas) and I might as well take the extra week at Christmas. But it all depends on how it heals. It’ll be a process . . . it’s still early, obviously, so it’s tough to tell how it’s going to go,” he said.