The Regina Pats have an answer to the question, what can Brown do for you?
On Thursday, the Pats dealt overage goalie Daniel Wapple to the Vancouver Giants for a seventh-round pick in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft.
The move was made, in part, to allow for the eventual return of overage defenceman Colby Williams and because the team is still building toward the future at this point.
The deal was also made because of the rise of goalie Tyler Brown over the last year. At this point, the team’s brain trust feels he’s ready to handle the load as their number-one goalie.
“Why not? See the game in Moose Jaw? See the game in Lethbridge? See the game in Edmonton? I don’t think there’s any question,” said head coach and general manager John Paddock.
“He grew every day last year. From the day he came he got better and better.”
Wapple may have been the better-known goalie this and a fan favourite but, Brown has been just as productive in nets as Wapple so far this season. Both Wapple and Brown have saved roughly 90 per cent of the shots fired their way, with Wapple starting just two more games than Brown.
Another thing this deal accomplishes for the Pats is a better variety in age groups in nets. Wapple wasn’t eligible to return next season. Now, they have both Brown and 16-year-old Jordan Hollett that can play as a tandem for potentially the next two seasons.
The team also has Kurtis Chapman and other goalies in the system that will be able to push Brown and Hollett for a roster spot.
“Fifteen months ago we came to training camp with a 20-year-old and two 19 year olds and a totally unproven 17-year -old in (Brown), an unproven 16-year-old in Chapman and high first round draft pick,” said Paddock.
“I think it’s worked out great where we’ve been able to go with it. We’ve been able to transfer from three old goalies to three goalies, one in each different age group.”
Since Paddock took over the hockey operations of the Pats last summer, one of his major goals has been to make sure this team could be set up for continued success by making sure they have a good balance of players throughout different age groups.
That process began last year when Paddock traded veterans like Morgan Klimchuk, Dryden Hunt and Kyle Burroughs.
At this point, trading Wapple appears to be the final piece of the puzzle.
“I think we’re nicely balanced for the future as is. I thought since the middle of last winter during the trade deadline that we’re sort of done making trades. We’ve felt, needed, liked different things that happened since,” said Paddock.
“I’m not looking to do anything more. I just want this group to keep on growing … but who knows?”
The Pats travel to Swift Current on Friday to face the Broncos. They return home on Saturday to host the Victoria Royals.