Suddenly, the Red Deer Rebels have a crowded crease.
Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter added Spencer Tremblay to the club’s goaltending mix on Monday. The 18-year-old Winnipeg product was with the Moose Jaw Warriors last season and was released by the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL in early November.
Red Deer netminders Patrik Bartosak and Bolton Pouliot already qualified as company, so it appears as though three is now a crowd.
Not necessarily, Sutter pointed out, especially with No. 1 stopper Bartosak possibility lost to the club for a month starting in early December.
“We have a situation here where there’s a good possibility Bartosak is going to leave for the world junior championship, which means he’d be gone for a month,” said Sutter. “During that time we’re going to need two goaltenders who can give us opportunities to win games.
“I didn’t want to take a 15- or 16-year-old out of a midget program, I just felt it was best if we could get a more experienced guy to come in here and compete with Bolton for the backup job for the rest of the (calendar) year.”
In the event that Bartosak does join the Czech Republic team for the WJC, by the time he returns either Pouliot or Tremblay will have emerged as the Rebels’ caddy. At least that’s the plan.
“Whoever wins it will be the guy here for the rest of the season,” said Sutter. “The other guy will play junior A and they both will have the opportunity next fall to compete for the No. 1 job here. This move is strictly based on competition. At the end of the day we need our back-up goaltending to win us some games.
“Nothing against Bolton, but after being around here as coach the past week and a half and on the ice during practice, I just feel that there needs to be more urgency at that position.”
Tremblay posted a 7-4-3 record last winter in Moose Jaw, to go with one shutout, a 3.62 goals-against average and an .896 save percentage. He was waived through the WHL during the off-season and joined the Wildcats, with whom he was 1-0-0 with a 4.42 GAA and .849 save percentage in three starts.
He was replaced in Moncton by — somewhat ironically — former Prince Albert Raiders stopper Cole Holowenko.
“It didn’t work out in Moose Jaw, so I went to Moncton and the same there happened there,” said Tremblay, who practised with his new club on Monday. “I went home to Winnipeg hoping that something would come up and luckily it did.”
Rebels director of scouting and player development Randy Peterson talked to Tremblay’s mother and Sutter was in contact with the goaltender on Friday.
“I’m happy to be here. It seems like a nice city,” said the six-foot-one, 181-pound netminder.
Tremblay isn’t a stranger to the entire Rebels team. He played with the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild during the 2010-11 season and defenceman Kevin Pochuk and forwards Christian Stockl and Jesse Miller were with the Wild last winter.
The Rebels host the Medicine Hat Tigers and Saskatoon Blades on Friday and Saturday.