Monday was a tough day for a couple of Stettler-area players dropped from their respective Western Hockey League teams.
The Everett Silvertips designated promising 17-year-old centre Ty Mappin of Big Valley for reassignment in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, though his new team wasn’t immediately determined.
The Regina Pats released 20-year-old centre Trent Ouellette of Castor and said they would make him available to other WHL teams, or try to find him a junior A team.
Ouellette played with the Pats for the past three seasons, while Mappin was a rookie with the Silvertips last season.
Mappin was the seventh-overall pick in the 2011 WHL bantam draft, and he landed a berth on Everett’s roster as a 16-year-old, after a standout season with the Canadian major midget champion Red Deer Optimist Rebels.
“Mappin was one of the Silvertips’ brightest prospects a year ago,” Everett Herald beat writer Nick Patterson reported this week. “He had an up-and-down rookie season, notching five goals and 12 assists in 63 games. Then he was passed on the depth chart this season as he went pointless in four preseason games.”
Everett general manager Garry Davidson told Patterson that Mappin had dropped on the Silvertips’ depth chart this season under new coach Kevin Constantine, a former NHL head coach.
“It’s one of those things where we had 16 forwards and had to make a decision,” Davidson said. “And I think he (Mappin) was a little concerned about what his role would be this year, as well. I think he was comfortable with going somewhere where he’ll play a lot.”
Davidson said the door wasn’t closed on Mappin returning to Everett in the future. “We want him to develop and work his way back here.”
The Silvertips are scheduled to visit Alberta next month, and the trip includes an Oct. 8 game against Red Deer.
Regina visits the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight and the Red Deer Rebels in a Friday game that would have been a homecoming of sorts for Ouellette.
The Pats opened the regular season last weekend with one of the oldest lineups in the WHL, reported Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post.
“They got significantly younger on Monday by cutting 20-year-olds Trent Ouellette and Luke Fenske, both of whom were deemed expendable after being leapfrogged on the depth chart by younger players.”
The Pats’ new head coach, former assistant Malcolm Cameron, said Ouellette and Fenske didn’t want to play a reduced role in their final season of major junior.
“They weren’t really willing and excited about accepting the role and responsibility that the organization has presented to them for this season,” said Cameron, who expressed excitement about the players who will replace them. “It’s a real testament to the young kids on our hockey club. It’s a place the organization hasn’t been in for the last couple of years … where we’ve had this much depth in younger guys who are ready to step into more important roles.”
The Pats retained the WHL rights to Fenske and Ouellette, both of whom are to be assigned to the junior A ranks, Harder wrote. “As 20-year-old role players, their value on the open market will be limited. If a trade doesn’t materialize, they would eventually be released and made available via the waiver wire. Players who aren’t claimed through waivers then become free agents.”