Estevan Bruins head coach/GM Chris Lewgood has been impressed with the progress shown by many of the team's prospects this season.
Four young players in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA have stood out, he said. Three of them – forwards Chase McKersie and Ryan Duret, and defenceman Joshua Rieger – have appeared with the team this season.
McKersie has had the most activity with the Bruins, as he has played in four games. The 17-year-old local product plays midget AAA with the Yorkton Harvest program, and leads the team in scoring.
“He's over a point-per-game, and when he's played games with us, he's played really well,” said Lewgood.
Duret, who came to Estevan with his older brother Jason in early December, appeared for the Bruins during a game in Melfort. The younger Duret is a point-per-game player with the Prince Albert Mintos, and has proven to the Bruins that he'll be ready to play next season.
Rieger, a defenceman with the Regina Pat Canadians, played his first SJHL game in mid-December against the Yorkton Terriers.
“He really contributed,” said Lewgood. “He proved to us he's ready to play right now.”
Rieger had a slow start statistically, Lewgood said, but Rieger's production has improved lately.
“His contributions aren't necessarily measured in stats,” said Lewgood. “He's a tough, physical guy.”
Defenceman Mason Benning, also 17, has played well in his rookie campaign with the Battlefords North Stars midget AAA program, and Lewgood is looking forward to watching Benning play.
One out-of-province prospect having a strong campaign is Ryan Burton, a 17-year-old forward playing midget AAA in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lewgood described Burton as a good skater and an offensive-minded player who takes care of his own zone.
A couple of 16-year-old players with the Estevan Apex Midget AA Bruins – forward Kaelan Holt and defenceman Tyler Hengen – have also impressed this year. Holt has been among the leaders in scoring in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League this season.
Among the other prospects who have impressed this year are 17-year-old forward Braydon Delomore of the Moose Jaw Generals, who has been a pleasant surprise this year, and 16-year-old defenceman Jake Tesarowski from the Pat Canadians.
There are also some American-born players, including forward Harrison Aide from Bottineau, N.D., and out-of-province players that the club is keeping close tabs on, Lewgood said.
There is some good talent in the pipeline for the Bruins, and Lewgood said he's looking forward to what they will do in the future.