The calendar has turned to 2023 and the SJHL Trade Deadline is so close we can almost taste it! All four teams in the Sherwood Division currently sit in a playoff spot, so their plans come Jan. 10 will likely more so include adding players as opposed to moving older players for future pieces.
The Flin Flon Bombers won the first game of 2023 against La Ronge to pull into a tie with the Ice Wolves for second place and they’ll look to add for a championship push. Harmon Laser-Hume continues to be solid for the Bombers, and Kenneth Marquart has been a nice backup, so they likely won’t make a big splash for a goalie. However, a defenceman or a depth forward could be in the cards for the Bombers to add a bit more juice to their already talented roster.
Some may have thought the departure of Ryley Morgan would drop the La Ronge Ice Wolves down the standings, but that hasn’t seemed to happen. Sure, they’ve lost four in a row, but they’re still right in the thick of things at the top of the SJHL standings. Maybe the Ice Wolves have done all their work heading into the deadline, but another addition on Defence might be what Kevin Kaminski and his staff are looking at. The additions of Mason Bueckert and Jacob Cossette have added to the depth of this group up front now, and in the future.
The Melfort Mustangs are finally getting healthy, for the most part, and that might be the best deadline acquisition they could have. Aidyn Hutchinson is returning from a shoulder injury, and Zac Somers is back from the World Junior A Challenge. If there’s any area the Mustangs could look at on January 10 is a pure scorer to give Melfort a bit more pop up front. The goaltending continues to be the strength of this club as they’ve won 10 of 13 heading into 2023.
The Nipawin Hawks are four points clear of the final playoff spot and they might be in the most intriguing position. They’re in seventh place and likely face an extremely difficult playoff matchup with one of Flin Flon, Humboldt, or even La Ronge. Is there a chance they get younger and move one or two of their 20-year-olds and get younger? Rylan Lefebvre, Carsoon Dobson, and Alex Johnson would all garner sizeable returns if they are on the market.
With a new year comes the excitement as the SJHL Playoffs inch closer and closer. Teams will slowly begin clinching playoff spots and games will get more and more heated as the months continue. Buckle up for what should be a wild final few months in the SJHL.