With the preseason officially behind the Red Wings, the team is looking to build on the success from last season. The team finished the preseason with a record of 3-0-3, with two losses coming in overtime and one in a shootout.
Playing in three of the six preseason games, newly acquired Brad Banach lead the Red Wings in points with 3G-2A-5P (although one of those goals should actually be an assist), followed by a three way tie for second between new recruits Liam Fitzgerald (3G-1A-4P) and Lucas Schmid (2G-2A-4P), and returning defenceman Dallen Oxelgren (0G-4A-4P) who lead the team in preseason assists.
Returning starting goaltender Dazza Mitchell played in two games for the Red Wings during the preseason, stopping 71 of 72 shots to help his team shutout the Estevan Bruins 1-0 and earn a big win over the Notre Dame Hounds 7-1. Mitchell boasted a save percentage of 0.986% throughout all of preseason.
With two shootouts in the preseason, the Red Wing highlight of the preseason would see the newly acquired Jerome Maharaj score a full on Pavel Datsyuk-ian goal in a 6-5 loss to the Yorkton Terriers.
As for local talent, the Red Wings will have a player at every position from Weyburn to start the season. Returning for his second year is defenceman Dallen Oxelgren, who took major strides in his game during the offseason and looks to be a leader in his 19-year-old season. Two 18-year-olds will also represent their local team as Wyatt LaCoste joins the forward unit and goaltender Ryan Hicks will split his time between the Red Wings and Jr. B.
Overall, the Red Wings outshot their opponents 204-159 in the six preseason games played despite five of the games being decided by a single goal.
The Red Wings are looking to be a team that scores by committee this season. During preseason the Red Wings had 13 different goal scorers in their six games, only five of which recorded multiple goals. Every veteran the Red Wings have has come back in better shape than when they left at the end of playoffs, and the pace of the Red Wings’ play during the preseason was evidence of that. Up front, big additions in the offseason include 20-year-old Jacob Visentini out of La Ronge, 19-year-olds Jerome Maharaj and Jaxson Ruthven who both played with the Sherwood Park Crusaders last year, and the return of 18-year-old Drew Molde, who AP’d with the Red Wings for 2 games last season before having his rights traded and now reacquired.
Defensively, the Red Wings look to be a force. Along with the aforementioned Oxelgren, returning 20-year-olds Nick Kovacs and Nolan Henderson have also come back with an extra edge to their game. Along with first overall pick Rhett Vedress stepping into a consistent role with the Wings this year, the team also added big pieces defensively including 20-year-old defenceman Tyler Teasdale from the Blackfalds Bulldogs.
In net, the Red Wings will again be lead by Dazza Mitchell, who despite only entering his 19-year-old season is in his third year with the Red Wings and has been a member of the team the longest. Backing him up to start the year will be former Grande Prairie Storm goaltender Adam Kelly, and Weyburn local Ryan Hicks.
A full introduction to the team will be coming later this week after the Red Wings play their first home game on September 22 against the Yorkton Terriers.