The Nanaimo Clippers are trying to put together a championship roster, and that includes from the goaltender out.
The team made a major trade on Tuesday, acquiring goalie Jayson Argue from Manitoba’s Swan Valley Stampeders in exchange for forwards Mike Sones and Brett Hartskamp and goalie Paul Bourbeau.
“We’ve been looking for a legitimate starting goaltender,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers general manager. “To recruit one with zero experience at our level is probably not realistic, therefore our focus was on acquiring one through trade or possibly coming out of major junior.”
Argue comes highly recommended. The 18-year-old was the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Player of the Year in 2011-12 after posting a 23-17 record with a 2.61 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage with his hometown Stamps.
“We’ve got a great athlete joining our team here,” said Vandekamp.
There were a few factors the GM considered in swinging the deal. One is the fact that Sones and Hartskamp are entering their 20-year-old seasons.
“We’ve been looking to make some room in our own 20-year-old department…” Vandekamp said. “I like those two young men very much, I’ve got a lot of respect for both of the boys and wish them all the best in the future.”
As well, Vandekamp said goaltender Chris Eiserman is unlikely to return to the Clippers because he will probably have to remain at home in the U.S. to concentrate on his studies.
So Argue finds himself as the No. 1 goalie on a team that will compete for a championship.
“It sounded like as of right now it’s kind of my spot to lose, but I’m not going in there with that at all,” said Argue. “I’m thinking going in there that it’s a battle.”
The newest Clipper said he was excited when he found out the trade was a done deal.
“It’s going to be good experience and it’s going to be a great opportunity,” Jayson Argue said. “There’s ups and downs about it for sure, but in the end it’ll be best for me and hopefully best for the team. There will be more exposure out there instead of Manitoba and I know I’m going to be going to a good team. It’s definitely hard saying that I’ve played my last game here [at Swan Valley] but it’s time to move on and hopefully it’s best for everybody.”
Argue said he doesn’t stick to any strict style of play in his crease.
“I kind of look at it as I do whatever I can to stop the puck and as long as the pucks aren’t going in, I’m happy and I guess my team will be happy, too.”
The other goalie involved in the trade, Paul Bourbeau, never played for the Clippers; the team acquired his rights as the future considerations of a trade-deadline deal with Dawson Creek.
ICE CHIPS … The Clippers will hold an open house at their new office at Beban Park’s Beban House this Sunday (June 24) from 1-3 p.m.