Jr. Oilers expect quiet deadline day

Hockey: Sellers market making transactions hard to come by in AJHL

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 06:00 am

Okotoks Oilers head coach and general manager James Poole relays instructions to his players at a practice  earlier this year. Poole said he doesn’t foresee any major activity from the Oilers on Jan. 10, trade deadline day.
Okotoks Oilers head coach and general manager James Poole relays instructions to his players at a practice earlier this year. Poole said he doesn’t foresee any major activity from the Oilers on Jan. 10, trade deadline day.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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Don’t expect fireworks on trade deadline day in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

At least not in Big Rock Country, as Okotoks Oilers head coach/GM James Poole expects no major transactions to take place during the league’s trade deadline on Jan. 10 with few teams out of contention and looking to shed assets.

“There aren’t a whole lot of sellers this year. Typically B.C. and Alberta operate together and looking at the (two leagues) there’s probably three teams that are out of the playoffs and maybe are sellers,” Poole said. “There aren’t a whole lot of players out there or up for grabs, there are a few players out there that a lot of teams are bidding on that we probably won’t get involved because the price is just too high.”

In Alberta, few teams are on the outside looking in have a realistic shot at the post-season

Nine points separate second place from seventh in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) South Division with the Calgary Canucks sitting 18 points back of the final playoff spot. Parity is characteristic in the north as well with the last place Drayton Valley Thunder sitting just six points outside the post-season picture.

Rendering roster evaluations more challenging for the Oil is the current absence of forward Scott Feser and defenceman Josh Smith both of whom are playing up in the Western Hockey League with the Red Deer Rebels and Prince George Cougars, respectively.

“It leaves us with a lot of question marks on our roster,” Poole said. “We’ve got to figure out what’s going on with those two players. We’re hearing that they’ll be back, but until we see them here we’re not sure and it’s kind of something that’s out of our control right now.

“We have to plan for every possible scenario.”

To combat the current roster shortages, the Oilers will be targeting depth acquisitions at both the forward and defence positions.

“We like the chemistry we have, we have a good hard working group,” Poole said. “Really, our thing is that we want to add players. We’re hoping to add Smith and Feser and then maybe another addition up-front that can improve our depth up there.

“We’re having to use APs (affiliate players) without those two guys so depth is biggest thing we’re looking for.”

Okotoks has been relatively quiet on deadline day during Poole’s tenure. Last season, the Oilers added depth defenceman Connor Sutton.

In 2011-12, Okotoks traded for the rights to forward Cole Penner who did not report to the club and in 2010-11, Poole’s first season with the Oilers, the Oilers were inactive.

To keep track of the latest transactions in the Alberta Junior Hockey League on deadline day log on to ajhl.ca/transactions

rgreer@okotoks.greatwest.ca


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