Kailum Gervais is out of sight, but not out of mind.
Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter reassigned Gervais to the Yorkton Terriers of the SJHL Monday — a mere five days after bringing the rugged forward in for a look — but is open to the notion of bringing him back at some point this fall.
Sutter was hoping the 18-year-old Kamsack, Sask., product would provide some up-front grit, but he arrived in Red Deer somewhat hobbled by a knee injury and not in prime physical condition.
“It’s a situation where he has a bad knee and because he didn’t skate all summer he’s out of shape,” said Sutter. “We went through some conditioning stuff with him here and his knee just isn’t up to snuff.”
The injury, believed to involve the meniscus — a fibrocartilage structure in the knee — occurred while Gervais was playing with the Terriers in the Western Canada Cup — the western junior A championship — in Nanaimo, B.C., in May, and if so could be repaired by arthroscopic surgery.
Gervais is scheduled to have an MRI on the knee Sunday in Regina, then will rejoin the Terriers.
“If he can continue to play he can start the season there and we’ll monitor him and see where he’s at,” said Sutter. “If he’s told he needs surgery, then we’ll have to wait for later on down the line after he finally gets back and plays some games at the junior A level.
“His team (Terriers) understands the situation and they’ve been great about it.”
As Sutter noted, it’s not the ideal scenario, but then nothing was guaranteed when Gervais agreed to join the Rebels after spending most of the past two seasons with the Terriers.
“We didn’t expect him to come here out of condition to the degree that he was. He thought he was in better shape himself,” said Sutter.
“But this is not over with, we’ve just got to keep tabs on him. It’s best that we focus on our team here now and let him get himself to where he needs to be after he has the MRI done.”
l Netminder Patrik Bartosak arrived in Red Deer Monday evening after attending camp with the Los Angeles Kings, who selected him in this year’s NHL entry draft.
Meanwhile, forward Lukas Sutter is slated to arrive today after being reassigned by the Winnipeg Jets Monday and defenceman Kayle Doetzel may be reassigned back to Red Deer by the Nashville Predators today.
Sutter originally heard that Doetzel would play in a preseason game Thursday at Tampa Bay, then was told that the 18-year-old rearguard was to play Monday against the host Florida Panthers.
l The Rebels, with 29 players still remaining on their roster, open Western Hockey League regular-season play Friday at Cranbrook versus the Kootenay Ice. The Rebels and Ice will clash again the following night at the Centrium.
l The Rebels will be featured on four Shaw TV broadcasts this season — at home against Kootenay Oct. 30, the Regina Pats Nov. 22 and the Vancouver Giants Feb. 21, and Nov. 6 at the Kelowna Rockets.