Examiner.com: Overage deadline looms for Ams
By Rene Ferran | Examiner.com
As the Tri-City Americans ready for Tuesday night’s opening game of their six-game East Division trip in Prince Albert, the lineup faces a shakeup in the next 10 days.
The Americans have four overage players on their roster — C Kruise Reddick, LW Mike Brown, D Tyler Schmidt and G Alex Pechurskiy. The WHL’s overage deadline is Oct. 14, when teams must drop to a maximum of three players.
Reddick is the team’s captain and Schmidt the alternate captain, meaning neither is likely to be moved by the deadline.
That leaves Brown and Pechurskiy on the chopping block. And while it was assumed that either would be prime trade bait to perhaps acquire a top-six defenseman for the team this season, GM Bob Tory’s message to fans seems to be, Not so fast.
“There is very little interest in overagers right now,” Tory said. “There’s no guaranteed market for these players.”
It’s a simple matter of supply and demand, Tory explained. There are about 10-12 extra overage players on rosters league-wide, and only three available overage spots on teams that have not reached the three-player maximum.
“The chances for a trade are probably slim,” Tory said. “In the end, we’ll have to decide what’s best for the team and move forward.”
That might mean simply releasing either Brown or Pechurskiy, getting nothing in return.
“That’s the business,” Tory said. “We’re in a luxury position to have extras, which means we don’t have to buy one. But if we have to let one go, that’s the price you pay for having success and depth in this league.”
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Russian defenseman Nikita Festerov is scheduled to have his visa interview next week, but don’t expect the Ams’ top import draft pick to be donning a Tri-City sweater anytime soon.
Even if the visa interview goes off without a hitch, Tory said the team still is working to acquire his rights from his Russian club team.
“Nothing probably will happen with him before Christmas,” Tory said. “It’s similar to Alex last year. We’ll keep pursuing him, and hopefully he’ll be able to join the team.”
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Defenseman Drydn Dow will not play tonight against Prince Albert as he continues to nurse a shoulder injury, but rookie D Spencer Humphries should be back in the lineup.
With Dow in suit and tie in the stands, 16-year-old Riley Guenther will continue to be in the lineup. The rookie has seen limited ice time the past two games.
“That’s the toughest position to play at that age, other than goalie,” Tory said.
One player yet to crack the lineup is Belarusian defenseman Nikita Kardashev, the team’s second-round import pick in June. Kardashev showed flashes during the preseason but hasn’t been able to translate that into regular-season ice time.
“Right now, he’s No. 8 on our blue line,” Tory said of Kardashev. “He’s having a tough time getting into the lineup. We’ll make a decision on him in the next week or so.”