Thursday, January 8, 2009

Vernon Beefs Up

It's not official yet (as in not listed on the BCHL official website) so I won't name any of the players. Don't want them to find out this way. But the Vernon Vipers are in the process of adding a forward and a powerful, physical defenceman from the coast. If these two players do end up in Vernon, a deep Vipers club just got more scoring and got a lot bigger. These would be the biggest additions for any team in the Interior so far.

Penticton has also added a big time defenceman in Kaare Odegard from Camrose. Salmon Arm, Westside, Trail, Prince George... it's your move.

EDIT: I got it half wrong. Not a good start here, Mullin!

(Cam Brodie and Mike Leidl)

It's official now at the Vipers website that Vernon has picked up two big, powerful 20 year old defencemen from Burnaby. Former Smoke Eater Cam Brodie and Mike Leidl will add their presence to what was a very young Vipers blue line.

Going the other way? D Steve Tresierra and F John Digness. Tresierra somehow ends up in Merritt and I'm not sure how that works yet.

My first thought? Great move by Vernon. They had a young core on the back end and I felt they lacked some size in their line-up as well. That's no longer an issue with the 6'1 215lbs Brodie and the 6'2 210lbs Leidl. Both players also have a scoring touch to their game as well. I got to watch Brodie all of last season and he's terrific at both ends of the ice. He's also probably the most powerful fighter in the league if someone does something to bring out his mean streak... but he's not a goon who will fight all the time by any stretch. This won't answer the call of some fans for a PP quarterback in Vernon. What it does is give them two steady veteran hands who can provide leadership, strong defensive play, some points, strong PK play and options on the PP.

Steve Tresierra is a good young D-man who will be a solid addition to Merritt if he reports. If not, he's another fine trading chip for them. As a 1990 born defenceman scoring at a 0.4 PPG clip, he'd be attractive to teams who are looking to upgrade but don't want to bring in a rental. How many cards does Merritt even have left at this point?

Digness is a fine forward who plays hard and has continued to improve in his second BCHL season. He'll likely get more opportunity to put some points up in Burnaby. However, in Vernon they can cover his loss rather easily with their extensive depth at forward. Frankly, I doubt Vernon is done adding. They'll likely want to add another forward. Perhaps someone who can be the sniper on a line with the Jones twins.

This is Brodie's third team this year and sixth in his BCHL career. Hard to get settled when you keep moving like this. However, he's a player that deserves a shot at a championship. He'll get that chance in Vernon. Leidl spent most of his career up north with Williams Lake and Quesnel. He's never played for a winner so I'm sure he's excited about the chance.

I'll have my thoughts on the moves we've seen earlier this week coming up before the end of the night.

EDIT: Vernon is done. Just did an interview with Coach Mark Ferner who says they're tapped out on cards and their roster is full. He has told his team they are done making moves before the deadline. There are some futures involved but the details of that aren't available for now. We'll have that interview with Ferner on the site shortly.

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