The Estevan Bruins were able to evaluate many of the team's top prospects during the club's annual spring camp from April 25 to 27.
About 70 players attended the camp, and while some 1996-born prospects impressed, camp proved to be a good chance for younger players, born in 1998 and 1999, to showcase their abilities.
"Before camp, we were excited about the future of the Bruins, and after camp, we felt that we really have a good thing going here long-term," said head coach and GM Chris Lewgood.
Two 1996-born prospects from Estevan, forward Chase McKersie and defenceman Mason Benning, set a high standard for the other players at camp, Lewgood said.
Brad Arabia, a 1996-born forward from Thunder Bay, Ontario, had five points in two periods before sustaining an injury.
"He probably had the best start of any player at the camp, and I think he was probably leading the camp in scoring when he left," said Lewgood.
Two other 1996-born players impressed: goaltender Tyler Gutenberg, who is among the candidates to be the Bruins' back-up next season; and forward Levi Barnstable, who showed a good two-way game.
Three 1997-born local players – defenceman Tyler Hengen and forwards Kaelan Holt and Kyle Salaway – had good showings at camp, Lewgood said. Holt was likely the camp's scoring leader.
All three spent last season with the Estevan Apex Midget AA Bruins program.
"Those guys are going to do a good job in North Battleford (playing Midget AAA next season) before coming back here to play for the Bruins," said Lewgood.
The 1998-born contingent was led by defenceman Mark Edmands of Regina, and forwards Chaseton Sare, Riley Woods and Turner Riplinger. All four are from Regina.
The standouts for 1999 players included defenceman Brayden Pachal – a local product who played bantam in Estevan last season. Lewgood said Pachal was one of the best defencemen at camp.
Lewgood was also impressed with the play of 14-year-old forward Isaac Sandomirsky of Regina.
Among the players who didn't attend camp was forward Ryan Duret, who was part of the Prince Albert Mintos team that won the Telus Cup national midget AAA championship in Moose Jaw.
"Having been at the tournament last week, and watching the final on Sunday (April 27), I'm really proud of the efforts from Ryan," said Lewgood. "He played really well. He was probably the best faceoff guy PA had, and his ability to find the open man in a scoring position was second to none.
"I'm really excited about getting Ryan into our program this coming year."
Duret is the younger brother of Bruins forward Jason Duret.