The Kamloops Blazers trimmed their roster to 30 players, including only two goaltenders, on Wednesday, one day after the WHL team held its annual intrasquad game at the Sandman Centre.
There were no surprises in goal, as the roster shows starter Connor Ingram, 19, and backup Dylan Ferguson, who turns 18 on Sept. 20, as the last men standing.
The Blazers released three goaltenders — Dylan Dow, 17, of Rivercourse, Alta.; Nathan Moore of Regina, who turns 15 on Nov. 1; and Max Palaga, 16, of Kamloops.
With Ingram scheduled to join the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning for a rookie camp in mid-September, the Blazers no doubt will be bringing in someone to support Ferguson.
The 30-man roster features 20 players who finished last season with the Blazers. It also includes 17 forwards and 11 defencemen. There are three 20-year-olds — forwards Matt Revel and Collin Shirley, who is the team captain, and defenceman Dallas Valentine.
The roster also features eight 19-year-olds, seven 18-year-olds, five 17-year-olds, six 16-years and forward Connor Zary of Saskatoon, who won’t turn 15 until Sept. 25. Zary isn’t eligible to play full-time with the Blazers until after his club team, the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts, has its season come to an end.
There are 10 freshmen remaining on the roster — forwards Jackson Shepard, Ryley Appelt, Scott Mahovlich, Carson Denomie, Brodi Stuart, Zary, and Rudolfs Balcers, along with defencemen Devan Harrison, Tylor Ludwar and Luke Zazula. Six of the 10 were selected in the 2015 bantam draft.
Shepard, 16, is from North Vancouver. He was a second-round selection in that 2015 draft.
Appelt, a 16-year-old Edmontonian, was a fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft.
Mahovlich, 17, is a listed player from Abbotsford.
Denomie, 16, is from Regina and was selected in the fifth round of that 2015 draft.
Stuart, 16, is from Langley. He was taken in the fourth round of the 2015 draft.
Balcers, 19, is preparing for his first WHL season after being selected in the CHL’s 2016 import draft. A Latvian, he was a fifth-round pick by the San Jose Sharks in the 2015 NHL draft.
Harrison, 16, is from Dysart, Sask. The Blazers grabbed him in the second round of the 2015 draft.
A listed player, Ludwar, from Regina, will turn 17 on Sept. 12.
Zazula, 16, is from Langley and was a fourth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. During a three-game look last season, during which the 5-foot-8, 165-pounder saw power-play time and picked up one assist, head coach Don Hay compared him to former Blazers great Greg Hawgood.
With nine players expected to join NHL teams for rookie camps in mid-September, chances are that most of the players now on the roster will be around for much of the exhibition season.
The Blazers open on Friday, 7 p.m., against the visiting Victoria Royals with the Kelowna Rockets at the Sandman Centre on Sunday, 5 p.m.
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