Due to a string of recent trades and acquisitions, the Spokane Chiefs are leaning toward a younger, smaller roster.
And the Chiefs’ roster is still jelling because of it.
“It’s going to take time,” Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. “But we’re still young and we’re awfully small, that’s what I’m seeing right now. And we have to overcome that.”
Nachbaur is spot on with both of those comments.
As it stands, the Chiefs are among the more youthful teams in the Western Hockey League. Spokane is the second youngest roster in the league with an average age of 17.8. Edmonton is the youngest at 17.6 and Prince George is the oldest at 18.5.
Spokane also has the second most players under 6-foot in the league with 11. Only Saskatoon has more with 15.
Nachbaur, dealing with a younger and smaller roster, is having a hard time convincing his players to follow his offensive game plan. Nachbaur noted he’s been frustrated with his forwards’ tendency to float around the perimeter.
“We’re not scoring from the side,” Nachbaur said after the Chiefs’ 2-1 loss to Seattle on Sunday. “Look where they (Thunderbirds) scored today. … We have the same opportunities and we choose not to be there. It’s a very tough area to be in and I don’t think our guys have taken it upon themselves to be that guy in front of the net.”
The Chiefs better figure it out quickly. Starting Wednesday, Spokane starts a four-game road trip, all against Western Conference teams. Nachbaur said the team’s “playoff chances are against the line.”
Tyson Helgesen, the Chiefs’ captain, said he doesn’t know how the team will come together. But it needs to happen in order for the Chiefs – who are currently ninth in the conference with 41 points – to remain in the playoff picture.
“We just have to find away to stick together,” Helgesen said. “There’s a lot of new faces so we have to adjust to playing with other guys, but at the same time we have to find ways to win games and score.”
Wyatt Sloboshan, who the Chiefs acquired in a trade with a trade with Saskatoon on Dec. 14, failed to report after the mid-season holiday break due to his father’s declining health. The Chiefs did right by him and shipped his rights to Regina – which is first in the Eastern Conference – so the Vanscoy, Saskatoon, native could be closer to his family.
“Wyatt mentioned his father’s health as a contributing factor to him not reporting and looking to be closer to home,” Chiefs general manager Scott Carter said in a statement.” His family runs a chicken farm (in Saskatchewan) and Wyatt expressed that he’d like to be able to help out (on the farm).”
Koby Morrisseau, Spokane’s first round pick (ninth overall) in 2015, is out for the season with an upper-body injury, the Chiefs announced on Monday.
“After further review and consideration with medical professionals and his family, we have decided to shut Koby down for the rest of the year,” Carter said. “His health is our top priority. We wish him the best as he works toward a full recovery.”
Morrisseau, 16, played in 22 games this season with one goal and one assist in his first season with the Chiefs.
He will remain on Spokane’s protected player list.
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