Clippers in mix at trade deadline

A lot of BCHL teams are going to try to get better at the trade deadline, so the Nanaimo Clippers don’t want to get left behind.

The Clips were working on at least one deal this week and weren’t done yet.

“Our approach at this deadline has been to try to make ourselves better this year and to be responsible to the future of the team,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach and general manager.

At press time the team was finalizing a deal to bring 20-year-old forward Luke Sandler over from the Surrey Eagles.

Vandekamp said he would like to add a good all-around defenceman – a veteran if possible – but said every team seems to be trying to do the same thing. And the Clippers are hesitant to give up much in return.

“Anything that’s real attractive on our club is younger and we’re not going to be moving any of those players, I don’t think,” said the Clippers’ general manager.

One veteran who is sure to attract interest is goaltender Jayson Argue. The 20-year-old is among the league leaders in wins, shutouts and save percentage and has been at the top of his game virtually all season long.

“I’ve heard I don’t know how many rumours this year already. There’s rumours flying around everywhere,” Argue said.

The goalie said he hasn’t worried about it, and said his “No. 1 goal” is to stay in Nanaimo.

“I want to stay here,” Argue said. “I’ve gotten pretty close to the guys in the room and we’ve got a strong group in there.

“Me and Vandy have been pretty honest with each other and he’s looking for this year, he’s not looking for the future or anything.”

So the Clippers players will concentrate on hockey, and expect that any changes will be made for the better.

“Everybody knows it’s the trade deadline and in junior hockey, it’s known you can move around,” said Devin Brosseau, alternate captain. “But we don’t want to think about that. We just  want to … get ready for our games. If something happens, well, something happens.”

GAME ON … The Nanaimo Clippers play the Merritt Centennials this Friday (Jan. 10) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Children ages 12 and under get in free to all Clippers home games for the remainder of the regular season.

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