The Everett Silvertips have had a big breakthrough this Western Hockey League season, and they appear ready to play at a high level in coming seasons.
Two of the best examples of that are 16-year-old defensemen Kevin Davis and Noah Juulsen.
Defensemen that young often struggle against bigger, stronger players in the WHL, but Davis and Juulsen have immediately fit right in.
“I expected them as 16-year-olds to be able to hold their own,” Everett general manager Garry Davidson told Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald. “Lately, they’ve done that and more. I’m really impressed with how both have played.”
Davis, the team’s first-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft, has played in 29 of Everett’s first 31 games and recorded five assists. Juulsen, the fourth-round pick in the same draft, has three assists in 26 games.
“It’s going well right now,” Davis said. “It’s a challenge, for sure, but I think I’m doing fine and I want to keep improving day by day.”
Everett (21-6-4-0, 46 points) has more points than every WHL team except Portland (48) and Kelowna (48). The Silvertips placed eighth in the Western Conference the last three seasons.
The Silvertips play the Spokane Chiefs at the Arena tonight and host the Chiefs on Sunday.
Spokane (18-12-0-2, 38 points) has lost eight of its last 12 games while Everett has won seven of its last 10.
But Spokane is 2-0 against the Silvertips this season, winning 1-0 in overtime and 4-2.
Around the league
Red Deer on Tuesday traded the WHL rights to defenseman Matt Dumba, currently playing for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, to Portland for forward Presten Kopeck. … The Regina Pats lost one of their top players, left wing Morgan Klimchuk, to a hip flexor injury suffered during the recent Subway Super Series. “I don’t like missing games with my club team (the Pats), but you also don’t want to miss the Super Series,” the Calgary Flames’ first-round selection told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. … Red Deer forward Dominik Volek has a team-leading 15 goals in 31 games this season after scoring nine in 32 games last year. … Lethbridge defenseman Joel Topping, 18, left the club last week and returned home to Red Deer to pursue a degree in education. The Hurricanes tabbed Topping in the second round of the 2010 bantam draft. … Tim Bozon, traded from Kamloops to Kootenay in October, had two goals and two assists last Friday in his first game back in Kamloops. Kootenay won 7-3. … Everett blanked Kamloops 7-0 during Sunday’s Teddy Bear Toss night. Kamloops fans, prepared to throw teddy bears on the ice after the first Blazers score, had to wait until the end of the game, while Everett celebrated its win. … Curtis Honey, back in net after more than five weeks, made 29 saves as Brandon beat host Moose Jaw 3-1 on Saturday.