The Prince Albert Mintos are set to welcome back two key pieces to their lineup when they take on the Regina Pat Canadians on Saturday night at the Art Hauser Centre
Forward Ashton Tait and goaltender Jayden Kraus were reassigned by their respective WHL clubs earlier this week. Tait originally broke camp with the Kamloops Blazers and will be making his season debut with the Mintos. Last season for the Mintos, Tait recorded 28 goals and 17 assists in 41 games.
Minto head coach Tim Leonard says Tait will be expected to contribute on the score sheet in his return to the Mintos.
“He’s a 200-foot guy. His offensives talents are probably his best. We expect him to come back and put up some points for us and provide some leadership.”
Leonard says the addition of Tait will help improve the overall depth of the Minto roster.
“I think it’s going to add some scoring depth that we’ve been missing. He’s going to have to come back here and work hard here too. It’s a good league. There’s lot of kids his caliber in our league. I know he will come back with the right work ethic and work hard here too.”
Tait appeared in 10 games for the Blazers but did not record a point. He says he enjoyed the experience playing in the WHL.
“It was a great experience. It’s a great team there. Being with them for that while I was there was great. I think I learned a lot. The game is a lot faster pace and it’ll take a lot to play there but I’m excited to be back.”
Kamloops features several players who have been selected in the NHL draft including captain Logan Stankhoven, forwards Dylan Kuefley, Caeden Bankier, Fraser Minten, Matthew Seminoff along with defenceman Kyle Masters
Tait says he learned a lot playing with a team that has a lot of NHL talent on their roster.
“You always got to be professional there. They are always working and doing extra and putting in that extra mile. I think that’s what makes them so great. They’re amazing hockey players and they are even better off the ice.”
Joining Tait from the WHL ranks is goaltender Jayden Kraus. Kraus started the year with the Mintos, but spent time with the Victoria Royals after being recalled late last week.
Kraus says he enjoyed the experience playing on Vancouver Island.
“It was a super cool experience learning from those guys. They are all professionals on and off the ice. It was pretty cool to watch those guys and to get to play in that league, it was super cool and exciting. Looking forward to bringing the stuff I learned there back here and finishing the rest of the season with the Mintos.”
Kraus appeared in relief in net for the Royals during a game against the Prince George Cougars. Kraus turned aside 17 of 21 Cougar shots in 31:34 of ice time.
He says the game is a lot faster in the WHL compared to the SMAAAHL.
“There’s a lot of similarities but at the same time there is a lot of differences. The biggest thing is the speed. Guys are faster and coming quicker. Pucks are coming off their tape way faster. You have to be there faster. The other thing is there is a lot of traffic in front of the net in the WHL. Bigger guys, wider guys and they know where they need to be to get in front of your eyes. Overall, it’s a lot different.”
The Mintos return to action on Saturday night when they welcome the Regina Pat Canadians to the Art Hauser Centre.