Monday, November 19, 2012

Blazers Gamble on Inglis

With two of their 20-year-old stars on the sideline and only one of them expected to return this year, the Kamloops Blazers have added another vet to the their first place team. The move is not without risk however as the new Blazer is Charles Inglis, a player with baggage now joining his fourth WHL team. 

The official release from both teams is found here on the WHL website.

The Blazers sit atop of the WHL as they have for the entire season. They have lost the services of veteran leader Dylan Willick (ankle) for 6-8 weeks and Jordan DePape has decided to retire after suffering a shoulder injury requiring season ending surgery. 

The Red Deer Rebels underwent wholesale changes last week including the replacing of head coach Jesse Wallin with owner/GM Brent Sutter. One of Sutter's next moves was to send Inglis, the club's leading scorer, home to await a trade (if possible) or simple outright release.

Several sources indicated to TPS earlier this year that Inglis was "on the wire", available to any team in the league that wanted him but no one did. Inglis seemed to respond to the rumors and went on a 10-points in 7-games run. 

This past Saturday we had Brent Sutter on The Pipeline Show and asked him flat out what led to the decision to cut ties with Inglis. 
"Well I'll put it this way," Sutter began, "At this point in time he was the leading goal scorer on the team, he was the leading scorer on the team and when a general manager has to send him home... I don't think I need to say any more than that."   
Suffice to say that Inglis had worn out his welcome in Red Deer just as he had in Prince George and in Saskatoon before that. 
 "Inglis, 20, left both the Saskatoon Blades and Prince George Cougars on less-than-amicable terms, with many believing the now 20-year-old forward is disruptive in the dressing room." (Matt Hastings, Kamloops This Week) 
That said, the Blazers really gave up nothing to get him which is both a cost effective move for Kamloops and also an indication of how eager the Rebels were to get rid of him

Photo: Saskatoon Blades
But just because they didn't give up an active roster player or a prospect to acquire Inglis, it doesn't mean that there is no risk to the Blazers. If in fact the rumors are true, as outlined in the Kamloops This Week story above, this could be looked at as GM Craig Bonner lobbing an Inglis grenade into his locker room. The hope is that it doesn't go off but the possibility exists that it destroys what has been a first place team with chemistry. 
On Monday I spoke with one league GM who agreed with me that Inglis to Kamloops is not unlike When Lethbridge added controversial power forward Kyle Beach to their team back in 2009. That move turned out to be a good one by then GM Roy Stasiuk as Beach would contribute 33 points in 24 games.
"Pretty risky," said the GM, "I know they're worried with DePape out but this guy has been sent home from how many places now? They've sat him out, they said because of the flu and stuff like that but that was just a bunch of B.S."

"Maybe they think their team is strong enough that it's not going to affect their chemistry, I don't know," he added, "He's a decent player but he's not the player that he was but there's obviously a lot of baggage there and I just don't know how many second chances a guy can get. I guess they could always cut him. It just surprises me that they would do it, I don't know what they're worried about unless they don't think they're as good as they are advertized."
Inglis will make his Kamloops debut on Wednesday when the Blazers host the Regina Pats. 

No comments: