With an interesting series of events capping off last season for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, the team will have a new look this upcoming season. The advancement of three defensemen, six forwards, and their starting netminder means a total of ten players leave the Backs with some work to fill the gaps in their roster.
It seems the Silverbacks took a head start on this with a frenzy of offseason trades made in June. These trades suggest the team is looking to take a step in another direction, focusing on a strong offensive force. Before we cover all the trades, let’s take a look at who is furthering their career out of Salmon Arm.
On the offensive side of the puck, there’s Daniel Rybarik, who finished second in the league with 31 goals. Rybarik led the Silverbacks in scoring and will attend the University of Alaska-Anchorage this season. The Silverbacks are also saying goodbye to their fourth and fifth point-getters in William Poirier, who advances to McGill University to play U SPORTS hockey, and Nicholas Unruh, who heads to the NCAA with Dartmouth College.
Among these forwards leaving, others to include are Lucas Breault pushing on to York University, Trevor Adams to Union College, and Luke Mylymok to the University of Minnesota-Duluth. In total, there are six forwards furthering their careers at the collegiate level.
Flipping over to the defensive side of things, advancing to Lake Superior State University are defensemen Jeremy Gervais and veteran netminder Ethan Langenegger. Langenegger was strong for the backs averaging a .907 save percentage through two seasons. His are large skates to fill.
— Salmon Arm Silverbacks (@SASilverbacks) September 12, 2018
Defensemen Antonio Andreozzi is off to Brown University and the biggest loss – captain Akito Hirose will attend Minnesota State University. Hirose was nominated for Interior Division top defensemen and led the Silverbacks and all defensemen in the BCHL in scoring with 51 points during the 2019-20 season.
Tough goodbyes and exciting new faces
The Silverbacks traded forwards Noah Wakeford and Coalson Wolford to the Trail Smoke Eaters in late June. Both players were strong up front for Salmon Arm, posting a combined 71 points for the team in 2019-20.
Rookie Jarrod Semchuck is also in new colours for 2020-21. He was traded to Bonnyville of the Alberta Junior Hockey League on June 1 to complete a trade between the Silverbacks and Pontiacs from January. Semchuk has since been flipped by Bonnyville to the Vernon Vipers.
Changes on the blueline have seen a pair on the back end sent out. Defenseman Zachary Gabruch takes his skill to the Spruce Kings after Salmon Arm moved him to Wellington of the Ontario Junior Hockey League before the Dukes moved him on to Prince George. Last to be sent out was defensemen Devan Newhook, who joins the Notre Dame Hounds of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
There is also lots of potential with a handful of players acquired by the Silverbacks. Acquired from the Manitoba Junior Hockey League to assist offensively for the Silverbacks this upcoming season is forwards Braden Fischer and Carter Loney. Fischer, who was acquired in June, recorded 45 points in 58 games with the Winnipeg Blues.
Loney is committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for next fall and had a breakout season with the Steinbach Pistons. He won MJHL rookie of the year with an impressive 50 points in 52 games and is ranked 167th by NHL Central Scouting for this year’s NHL entry draft.
Forward Daniel Panetta was also nabbed from the OJHL’s Wellington Dukes in June. Panetta posted 44 points in 54 games with the Dukes and should be another big piece for Salmon Arm’s forward lines.
Panetta, Fischer, and Loney should add a dynamic offensive threat to the Silverbacks, filling in some of the gaps up front.
The Silverbacks hope that goalie Riley Kohonick takes the reigns in net after he was acquired from the Notre Dame Hounds in early June. Kohonick posted a 2.95 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage in 35 games with the Hounds and I’m sure he is looking to carry this over to the Silverbacks.
What’s new and what’s to come
On September 3, the Silverbacks added veteran 2000-born forward Mitchell Morrison. Morrison played three previous seasons in the OJHL with the Burlington Cougars and posted a total of 125 points in 141 games.
In total, there are no fewer than 15 Silverbacks from last season’s squad moving on, including their starting goaltender, top five point leaders, and four defensemen. It certainly seems like there some major gaps in the roster but many of the moves this summer look to have filled those.
The Silverbacks have a lot of potential with their new roster in adding some highly touted, skilled forwards, and with a little defensive help, it should set up them for a great season.