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Additions & Subtractions: Regina Elk

The SMJHL can be a tough place to find consistent, sustained success. Junior players are only allowed to stay in the league for a maximum of four seasons, and some top level talent might even spend less time than that, depending on their SHL team’s needs.

For the Regina Elk, this off season showed that tough decisions are always going to be a part of the territory, as management had to not only say goodbye to their SHL graduates, but also make the difficult decision to trade away a couple of franchise favorites.

On the flip side though, Regina also carefully reviewed their future needs and welcomed in some new Elk via the draft. The franchise is hoping these players will quickly become the new fan favorites and impact players on the ice.

In this article, we’ll review those additions and losses, and how it may impact Regina not only for Season 69, but for the seasons in the early 70’s as well.

Defenseman - Brendan Laroux
The move: Traded to the Detroit Falcons along with Hodor for a S69 1st & S71 2nd

The impact: Brendan Laroux spent three seasons with Regina, and he no doubt left his mark. Laroux is a great goal scorer as a defenseman, registering 46 goals in 198 career games for Regina, including 18 goals scored this past season. Laroux also tallied 79 assists with the Elk, and a +/- of 48. On the powerplay, Laroux became a fixture for the Elk as he spent a lot of time quarterbacking the extra-man attack while contributing his fair share of powerplay points. Outside of his stats, Laroux was an alternate captain for the Elk and the team will now need to fill the leadership void that was left by this move.

Laroux now takes his talents to Detroit, where he will spend his last season of SMJHL eligibility contributing to a powerhouse SMJHL team. The Falcons are coming off a championship, and adding Laroux and his three seasons of SMJHL experience will certainly set them up to add another big weapon to their arsenal. Do not be surprised to see career bests for Laroux this season with Detroit.

Defenseman - Hodor
The move: Traded to the Detroit Falcons along with Brendan Laroux for a S69 1st & S71 2nd

The impact: Unlike Laroux, Hodor’s absence will mostly be felt for the Elk in their defensive zone. Hodor, a three year SMJHL player for the Elk, has established himself as a premier shot blocker; registering an incredibly painful 624 career blocked shots in those three seasons. Last season alone, Hodor blocked 241 shots, good for 2nd in the entire SMJHL. Don’t let this stat fool you though, Hodor is also more than capable in the offensive zone as well. Last season, Hodor registered a solid 36 points on 8 goals and 28 assists. Like Laroux, Hodor was an alternate captain for the Elk this season and he will be another leadership loss that the team will be looking to fill. The Elk defenders will be busy this season as they try to make up for the loss of their go-to shot blocker.

For Detroit, they get their second former Elk defenseman going into his final SMJHL season. Hodor will immediately bolster their defensive play, and the team that already did so well keeping pucks out of their own net might find themselves with even fewer this season, given how many Hodor plans on stopping himself. Expect a lot of the same for Hodor this season, as he continues to add some bruises with his selfless play.

Forward - Teodors Skalbergs
The move: Graduated to SHL team, Minnesota Monarchs

The impact: With Skalbergs graduation to his SHL team, Regina will be losing their top scorer from Season 68. In this past season, Skalbergs paced all Elk with 67 points on 26 goals and 41 assists, 15 more points than the next closest player on Regina. Skalbergs finished his career in Regina with 204 points on 77 goals and 127 assists through 264 games played in four seasons. Losing Skalbergs offensive presence will no doubt be noticed this season for Regina, but the team will look to find other forwards on the roster to step up in his place.

Forward - Ralph Ryan
The move: Graduated to SHL team, Texas Renegades

The impact: Ralph Ryan moving into the SHL certainly leaves a gap in the middle for the Elk. The center enjoyed a solid season in Season 68, as he finished third on the Elk with 52 points. Ryan also showcased his two-way ability, as he spent a good amount of time each game on both the powerplay and the penalty kill. Ryan actually took a step back in Season 68 compared to Season 67, as he registered 15 less points while playing in the same amount of games. Regardless, Ryan became a fixture at the center position for the Elk, and the team will look to some of their young guns to take on the responsibility that Ryan had.

Forward - Jae Hyuk Choi
The move: Drafted 1st round, 8th overall by Regina

The impact: With their first pick in the recent draft, Regina selected Jae Hyuk Choi, winger out of South Korea. Choi shows a lot of offensive upside, with a good ability to read opposing defenses while being able to score from just about anywhere in the offensive zone. Not just a scorer, Choi also possesses the ability to find the open teammate, and should be able to register a fairly even amount of goals and assists throughout their SMJHL career. Given the loss of some of their veteran forwards, Regina hopes that their top pick in Choi will soon be a reliable offensive option from the winger position.

Forward - Oliver Ozols
The move: Drafted 1st round, 14th overall by Regina

The impact: At the end of the 1st round, Regina used their second 1st round pick on another winger, Oliver Ozols from Latvia. Ozols impressed scouts with their speed and offensive ability. Ozols should be able to immediately make an impact for the Elk when it comes to scoring goals, and their speed should be able to allow them to get through SMJHL defenders. Like fellow first round pick Choi, the Elk are hoping that Ozols will quickly become a name that fans and opposing defenses quickly take notice of.

Defenseman - Willow Soderberg-Snooks
The move: Drafted 2nd round, 24th overall by Regina

The impact: In round 2, Regina drafted a familiar face as they took defender Willow Soderberg-Snooks. A light-weight defender, Soderberg-Snooks stands at 5’7, 150 pounds and hails from Sweden. Don’t let Soderberg-Snooks’ size fool you though, this defender does everything right from the blue line and shows some great promise in locking down forwards in the SMJHL. There is room to grow in their offensive game, but expect Soderberg-Snooks to get their fair shot at minutes as the Elk look to backfill both Hodor and Laroux this season. Soderberg-Snooks projects to be a solid defender for Regina for several years to come.

Defenseman - Fox Peur de Feu
The move: Drafted 3rd round, 36th overall by Regina

To round out their draft, Regina went back to the blue line and drafted defender Fox Peur de Feu. The Canadian blue liner offers a balanced game that should provide two-way results for the Elk. Peur de Feu projects to be a bit more offensive than your average defenseman, which is always welcomed in the current age of the SMJH. Do not be surprised to see Peur de Feu become the next Brendan Laroux for Regina’s future.

What’s Next?
Every team goes through changes in the off season, and we see above that the Regina Elk had their fair share of changes going into Season 69 of the SMJHL. The three players who were either traded or graduated on the the SHL will certainly leave some major gaps on the statsheet and roster for the Elk, but the great franchises are always prepared for that natural turnover, and the Elk made sure to address these areas in the SMJHL draft.

The new crop of forwards and defenseman have already shown some great promise, both in the locker room and through their scouting game film. Talk is cheap, and projections are always easier to lay out than actual results, but the Elk feel that they have some impact players on both ends who will be able to become the next greats to wear the Regina Elk uniform.

In the short term, particularly for SMJHL Season 69, the Elk may experience some growing pains as they look for the new players to establish their footing and chemistry with the entire team. The players being replaced are historic players for the franchise, and the young guns will have to also win over the Regina faithful. Although the results may not be there in the short term like fans would always want, expect long-term success to be there for this talented group of prospects joining the Elk this season.

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ivy telling me things about my own team that i do not know

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What a great write up! Great work!

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Jaded by the Knowledge you have of the team! SMJHL should Take Warning.



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