Looking ahead to the 2020-21 season can be a hard task in this unknown sports landscape. Junior hockey is no different. It is not known when the new seasons will drop the puck nor how it will look, but what does remain is the rules around the roster and the limitation of 20-year-olds. For the Lethbridge Hurricanes, they head into a new campaign with a decision or two to make regarding which three overagers will help lead the team.
Let’s take a look at those players currently on the roster and slated to start 2020-21 in Lethbridge.
This was Kambeitz’s first season in Lethbridge. He was acquired the previous offseason in a trade with the Victoria Royals. Appearing in 52 games for the Hurricanes he collected 29 points.
Kambeitz is known more for his two-way game and was relied on more and more in that role as the season went on. The Parker, Colorado-native was counted on to be part of the leadership for head coach Brent Kisio. If he is on the opening day roster, there’s no doubt he will be leaned on again.
Picked by the Hurricanes in the import draft, Okuliar exploded onto the scene in Lethbridge. Coming in with few expectations, the Slovakian forward quickly settled in and formed incredible chemistry with superstar Dylan Cozens. The speedy winger finished second only to Cozens in team scoring with 68 points. Okuliar also played for Team Slovakia at the World Junior Championships (WJC).
Acquired shortly after the season, Prowse has yet to suit up for the Hurricanes. While playing for the Victoria Royals in 2019-20 season he racked up 33 points in 64 games played. The 6-foot-2 defenceman could potentially fill a huge hole on the Hurricanes with the departures of Koletraine Wilson and Ty Prefontaine who both graduated the Western Hockey League (WHL) this past season.
Most fans will know the rearguard from his time with Team Canada at the WJC. Addison has been a big part of the Hurricanes defensive core the last couple of seasons. The Manitoba-native is a power play specialist.
The Hurricanes’ man advantage finished seventh in the WHL last season. Addison finished second in defencemen scoring on the team with 52 points in 50 games played.
Who Makes the Cut
Unlike in past seasons, this decision could be made for the Hurricanes. Addison was part of the Jason Zucker trade in the NHL between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Minnesota Wild. He was originally drafted by the Penguins in the second round in 2018. Now having been traded to the Wild, there will be greater opportunity for the 2000-born defenseman. There is a good chance that he takes the jump to pro hockey either by making the Wild’s roster or playing in the American Hockey League with Iowa. If Addison is returned to the Hurricanes, it makes the decision a little harder for general manager Peter Anholt.
The Hurricanes could also choose to bring in another player. That is not uncommon for WHL general managers to add a fourth overage player to training camp for added competition. Its also not uncommon to see a 20-year-old traded for another 20-year-old of a different position. These types of moves tend to come later into training camp once coaches and managers have a chance to evaluate the on-ice performance of the team.
Whether there is a move made or not, the path seems pretty clear and easy for the Hurricanes this time around. In a season where the team is “retooling,” it is important that the three veterans who will make up the overage spot have productive season while mentoring the younger players. This is the type of leadership Lethbridge has leaned on season after season.