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Clippers want to make a deal

The Nanaimo Clippers, in contention for the Western Canada Cup, want to leave it all on the ice this season.

They also want to do everything they can off the ice.

The club’s last chance to make roster moves is Thursday (Jan. 10), the B.C. Hockey League’s trade deadline.

“We have a plan of what we think we need to do, and we’ll try to do our best to do that this week,” said Mike Vandekamp, the team’s coach and general manager.

The Clippers have only 20 players on the roster right now, two short of the league limit, and they have some flexibility with roster cards, import player cards and 20-year-old player cards.

“Obviously there’s going to be changes. We have to try to get to a 22-man roster, especially with a couple of injuries that we have…” said Vandekamp.

“We’ve got to add some depth to the club to begin with, and you’re not going to do that if you’re trading players out and bringing ones in; you’re not getting ahead.”

The Clippers, where possible, will try to trade away future considerations and acquire players in cash transactions.

Vandekamp said he was active in trade talks last week, but said it’s difficult to make moves because so many teams are bunched up in the standings.

“There’s not as many teams that are … selling older players because there isn’t that many teams that are out of the picture,” he said. “So it’s a little bit of a tough market.”

With more buyers than sellers, he said, the price goes up.

Vandekamp speculated that the end of the NHL lockout might also have a trickle-down effect on trade deadline day. Usually at this time of year some major junior players become available to junior A teams across Canada, but this year top major junior players will be at NHL training camps, meaning, perhaps, fewer major junior cuts.

As for the Clippers players, they showed some good things in winning four of their last five games. Trevor Fitzgerald, team captain, said players trust that any trades will only make the team better.

“Moves are going to happen all the time,” said Trevor Fitzgerald, team captain. “Sometimes you do kind of think about it, but it’s not really something to worry about. You’ve got to worry more about just playing, because that’s what you should be worried about all season anyway.”

Two goalies will be enough for stretch run

The Nanaimo Clippers are happy with their goaltending lately, but nevertheless, they’ll be making changes in the crease.

Three goalies is too many, so one guy will be on the way out in order to free up roster space elsewhere. Vandekamp said the team won’t consider keeping all three netminders as of the trade deadline Thursday.

Jayson Argue has been the No. 1 goalie all season, but the team recently brought in another veteran, Derek Dun. Jarrod Schamerhorn is the third member of the group.

“It’s kind of a strength area for our team and we wanted our goaltending to be the backbone of the club,” Vandekamp said.

Dun was brought in to push Argue, and Vandekamp said he’s liked the play of both those netminders since Dun has come aboard.

“Either of us can start, it’s just who played better the game before,” Argue said. “I think we’re going to push each other to be better and I think it’s going to help  us.”

Complicating things is Schamerhorn’s age. He is one of two 17-year-olds on the club and league rules mandate two 17-year-olds on a 22-man roster.

“That’s an issue, for sure,” Vandekamp said. “If we want to have a full roster we’re going to need to make sure we have two 17s within that roster.”

An interview with Dun was published last week in the News Bulletin and can still be accessed online here.

ICE CHIPS … The BCHL will hold off on announcing any of today’s trades until Friday (Jan. 11). Visit www.nanaimobulletin.com over the weekend for coverage of any deals … The Clippers host the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena, then play the Caps in Duncan on Saturday.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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