Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The New Look Rebels - So Far, So Good

There is a long, long way to go before we're able to pass final judgement on Brent Sutter's work as Red Deer Rebels General Manager this season.

That being said, the early returns for his wheeling and dealing are looking good.  Very good.  And the possibility for long term benefits from these moves should have Rebels fans feeling pretty darn good about what the boss has been up to.

Sutter has made three trades in the past couple of weeks with the goal of improving his club right now...

- Acquiring Brandon Underwood ('92) in exchange for a 4th round bantam pick in 2013
- Acquiring Matt Bellerive ('95) in exchange for a 3rd round bantam pick in 2014
- Acquiring Christian Stockl ('95) and a 3rd round bantam bantam pick in 2014 in exchange for Adam Kambeitz

Taking the draft picks out of the equation, Sutter was basically able to get two 17 year old offensive forwards in exchange for his 20 year old captain who, as much as we love Kamby as a person, was a third line centre.

Not too shabby.

Bellerive has been outstanding since arriving in Red Deer.  He has piled up 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists) in 8 games with the Rebels and is second in team scoring, trailing Charles Inglis by just one point.  There is every reason to believe that Bellerive will remain at or near the top of the teams scoring list for the duration of the season.  He has shown plenty of creativity and confidence when the puck is on is stick (he's been on the highlight reel in nearly every game he's played in), and he is getting prime time playing minutes alongside offensively talented linemates.  He's also seeing time playing the point on the powerplay beside Mathew Dumba.  When the trade with the Vancouver Giants was made, both the Rebels and Bellerive himself were confident he could be a top six forward capable of putting up big numbers.  Nine games in that certainly appears to be the case.

The sample size for Stockl is much smaller, just one game.  But in speaking with Cam Moon a short while ago, his one game with the Rebels was pretty darn good.  Wearing #20, Stockl earned an assist on Bellerive's second period goal versus the Broncos and was a +1.  He has offensive talent and size to go with it. 

Both Bellerive and Stockl address what was a serious cause for concern with this Rebels hockey club... a lack of depth amongst their 1995 born players.  Only Cory Millette (4 points in 10 games) represents any significant contribution form the 17 year old forwards who were here to start the season.  Scott Feser made the roster coming out of training camp but (for whatever reason) has yet to play a regular season game.  Wyatt Johnson continues to deal with concussion issues and has yet to receive medical clearance.

Other Rebels news and notes...

- As Greg Meachem first reported in today's Red Deer Advocate, defenceman Kayle Doetzel will miss the next 4-6 weeks of action after suffering a broken jaw.  Doetzel suffered the injury last Wednesday in Saskatoon.  It's certainly a tough break for the big blueliner in his draft year.

- It appears Kevin Pochuk's stint in Junior A was a rather short one.  Pochuk was called up during the road trip as a result of Doetzel's injury and made the trip back to Red Deer with the club.

- Riley Boomgaarden, whose absence from the lineup raised more than a few eyebrows, was in fact dealing with a lower body injury which he suffered in practice.  It sounds like he'll be good to go for this weekend.

- Will Jan Bittner find himself in the pressbox with Boomgaarden's return?  The Czech defenceman has struggled (to put it mildly) in his first taste of North American hockey (zero points, -6, 19 PIM in 10 games).  I'm thinking the Rebels will be patient in deciding what to do with Bittner long term.  They'd hate to waste one of their two import spots on a player who doesn't fit in and there could very well be some other imports out there who are capable of coming in and playing well.  In the meantime, some time up in the gondola might be a valuable learning experience for Bittner.

- We're still waiting for 'Miller Time' to arrive... 10 games into his career, Jesse Miller is still in search of his first WHL point.  Known for his juggling and slight of hand abilities off the ice, Miller needs to start bringing that magic on the ice... and soon.

- No cause for concern between the pipes.  Both Patrik Bartosak and Bolton Pouliot have provided the Rebels with solid goaltending on a nightly basis.

- Scott Feser.  Stephen Hak.  Cody Thiel.  Combined, they've played a grand total of five games.  Thiel has played four of them.  You have to think something's gotta give.  Give these guys a chance to play, either here or in Junior A somewhere.

- The Rebels have a well-earned day off today.  They return to practice tomorrow before hosting Medicine Hat on Friday [7:30pm] and visiting the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday [7:00pm].



Four hours later and it's already time to update this particular article...

Sutter pulled trigger on yet another deal Wednesday night by acquiring 17 year old forward Austin Ferguson from the Kelowna Rockets in exchange for a conditional 6th round pick in the 2013 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

Ferguson is in his WHL second season and has 4 career points (1 goal, 3 assists) in 58 games played.  Ferguson was a 10th round pick of the Rockets in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.

There you have it... yet another '95 born player brought into the Rebels fold by Sutter (Johnson, Stockl, Ferguson).  This particular trade is about as low risk as they come.  Bring a guy in for a look and if he fits in, great.  If not, the price you paid to bring him in is so low that releasing would not be the end of the world. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

its a positive sign that says with Brent around this season as compared to last year, is he will not go all season hoping they will turn things around, if the Rebels are not producing he is going to try and find someone to come in and help change.