Heading into last weekend’s training camp, Prince Albert Raiders general manager Curtis Hunt stated that he’d love to sign some young talents that the team was keeping an eye on.
Three of those players are now part of the program as blueliners Landon Kosior and Adam McNutt, along with forward Logan Linklater, inked Western Hockey League standard player agreements Tuesday afternoon.
“All three of those guys are going to be great Raiders and that’s five big signings in the last two weeks if you include Ivan (Kechkin) and Ilya (Usau),” Hunt said. “We’ve strengthened things up the middle and we’ve also strengthened our blueline with those signings.
“Of the players that we signed today, we know that Kosior is going to be staying here for the whole season, while McNutt and Linklater are in the tryout phase at the moment.”
Kosior, a 17-year-old from Regina that was listed by the Raiders in the fall of 2017, is coming off of a 52-point campaign with the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League’s Tisdale Trojans and had two goals and an assist in the Raiders’ Green and White game at the Art Hauser Centre Monday.
The winner of the SMAAAHL’s Adam Herold Memorial Award last season, which is given to the best defensive defenceman in the league and was named after the Raiders prospect who lost his life in the Humboldt Broncos bus accident, Kosior had been listed on the pre-season roster for the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel on Sunday before he signed with the Raiders.
“Good players have good options and both Kosior and Usau (who had been committed to the NCAA’s UConn Huskies) had viable options in front of them,” Hunt said.
“I think our hockey operations staff has shown in our short time together that this a place that has become a viable destination for players. People know that we can develop players both on and off the ice with the attention to detail that we have here.”
McNutt, a 16-year-old from Saskatoon who was a fourth round pick by the Raiders in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, is coming off of a 15-point campaign with the SMAAAHL’s Saskatoon Contacts.
The 16-year-old Linklater, who is from Kindersley and was taken in the sixth round by the Raiders last year, also played in the provincial Midget AAA ranks this past season and had 32 points for the Swift Current Legionnaires.
“Both guys are on the younger side so will see what happens with them here over the next few games,” Hunt said.
“All of the players that have been invited to NHL (National Hockey League) camps left on Tuesday, so it gives those young guys that are still on our pre-season roster a chance to show what they can do.”
When it comes to this year’s training camp, Hunt was pleased with the level of talent and the speed that was on display during the four days of on-ice scrimmages.
“We’re very appreciative of the players and the parents who took the opportunity to come up to Prince Albert and we’re also appreciative of our staff as they did a great job of evaluating our drafted players and the free agents they had on their list to put together a really good camp,” Hunt said.
“We shared to the young players the way that we do things here and the intimacy of our community, which was on full display with the turnout we had for our Green and White game Monday.”
In other Raiders news, it was announced that overage defenceman Max Martin will be attending the Boston Bruins training camp this week, where he will be joined former teammate Dante Hannoun.
Tuesday’s Pre-Season Scores
- Edmonton 5 Red Deer 2 (Dylan Guenther – Two Goals)
Wednesday’s Pre-Season Schedule
- Swift Current vs. Medicine Hat – 7 p.m. (in Irvine, Alta.)
- Moose Jaw vs. Prince Albert – 7 p.m.