Hedberg to Hamburg

Acadia has traded away a goaltender for the second time in 3 weeks.
by Marcel Cormier | January 19, 2012, 3:25 AM ET

 

"We wish Johan all the best in Hamburg but we're moving forward with our goaltending position."

That from Acadia Golden Bears GM Guy Flaming after confirming that veteran netminder Johan Hedberg has been dealt to the Gladiators. The recently acquired Tomas Vokoun is clearly the Bears goaltender of the present and for the foreseable future and it can be argued that the Czech netminder's arrival has lead to the departure of both Hedberg and Devan Dubnyk who was sent to Toronto on New Year's Eve.

"Obviously when we brought in Vokoun... I mean, no one wonders who the starter is for this team anymore and that's something we haven't been able to say for the past couple of years since Timmy [Thomas] left us," said Flaming, "Now we have that bona fide guy in place and we can start grooming our young guys who will eventually be starters in this league."

The trade with Hamburg is a simple one as the Gladiators have given up their 5th round pick in the 2012 draft to add Hedberg who will likely split time with J.S. Giguere. 

The leading candidate to move into the number two position is 21-year-old Braden Holtby who has appeared in 4 games so far this year including yesterday's 3-2 shootout loss to Vancouver. The 2008 third round selection has not registered a win yet this year but the Bears have been very high on him since before his draft year.

"Holts has been a personal favorite of mine since his early says in the WHL with the Saskatoon Blades," Flaming said, "we drafted him earlier than any publication or ranking projected him to go and we took some flak for that but I always felt it was a decision that would pay off in the end. We're happy with what we have seen from Braden so far this year."

Martin Jones, signed to a 1-way free agent contract in the summer for $1.5M, has been with the big club all year but is basically a practice goalie. The promising 6'3 keeper has yet to dress for Acadia and isn't expected to at this season. 

The job is his for now, and likely for the rest of the 2011-12 season, but there are a few players in the system who will challenege Holtby in the long term.

Both Jacob Markstrom and Dustin Tokarski were drafted by Acadia and have seen action on the farm this year. Free agent signee Brad Thiessen could be in the mix for next season as well as Allen York, a 7th round pick the same year Holtby was chosen. 

Beyond those four contenders are junior and collegiate goalies worth remembering for the future including Denver Pioneer Sam Brittain, Nathan Lieuwen of the Kootenay Ice and Louis Domingue of the Quebec Remparts.

Bear Tracks

- Center Peter Mueller is reportedly feeling much better. The 1st round pick in 2006 has missed the entire season due to a concussion but recently returned to the ice. His return to action would mean great things for the Bears who at one time had concerns that Mueller's injury may have ended his career.

- After a disappointing 2010-11 season, Jimmy Bubnick has bounced back in fine style this year with the Calgary Hitmen. The Bears' 5th round selection in 2009, Bubnick recently netted his 20th goal of the WHL season and is maintaining a point-per-game pace.

- Having gone public already with their plans to "Franchise" Tomas Vokoun next year, the writing is on the wall for defencemen Radek Martinek and Brooks Orpik, both in their final year of their current contract. The team may try and resign them in the off-season but have the option of bringing up some of their promising youth.

Kris Russell played 54 games with Acadia last year and will more than likely be a regular next season. Joining him could be prospects Jake Gardiner, a 2nd round pick from 2008, and Brayden McNabb who was a 3rd rounder in 2009 as both appear ready to at least challeneg for active SICHL duty next fall.

John Moore, Jeff Petry and Jared Spurgeon have played very well on the farm this season and have to be considered more than strong contenders for a roster spot too. 

- Acadia's presence at the 2012 World Junior Championship was fairly light. J.T. Miller and Mark Stone were the only two Bears prospects playing in Alberta while German Tobias Rieder took part in the Division I version in Europe. However, several other Acadia properties were in contention for roster spots or were unavailable due to injury.

2011 1st round pick Sean Couturier was not made available but defencemen Joe Morrow, Dillon Simpson, goalie Louis Domingue and forwards Michael Ferland and Brad Ross tried out for Hockey Canada leading up to the event. Injuries to Sam Brittain and Joel Edmundson kept them out of the loop.

Americans John Gaudreau, Shane McColgan, Scott Mayfield, Patrick Wey and Rocco Grimaldi were in Lake Placid for the summer camp, the latter two unavailable for the tournament due to injury.

- Forward Scott Hartnell has 6 points in 10 games since being acquired from Amsterdam.      

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