The Raiders will head into the 2013-14 season with an another overager to carry the goaltending load. They have acquired Cole Cheveldave from Kamloops along with a 4th round pick in the 2015 Bantam Draft for 2013 first round pick Jake Kryski and a 7th round selection next spring.
Cheveldave has developed into one of the league's premier goaltenders after becoming the number-1 netminder with the Blazers in 2011-12. He posted a 70-27-3-4 record in 111 regular season games with a 2.50 goals against average and a .908 save percentage with 10 shutouts. Cheveldave's playoff numbers are 13-7, 2.85 and .902.
General Manager Bruno Campese said the deal was done after a close examination of their goaltending situation.
"His numbers are impeccable." said Campese. The Raider G.M. also said there weren't many goalies out there capable of providing their two main requirements as a top flyte number one guy while teaching prospects Rylan Parenteau and Nick McBride,
"He's been a number one guy in Kamloops for two years and we just feel with the state of where we are as a team, it was important to make sure we had an experienced netminder to not just help us through this year but to mentor the young guys we have coming up."
Cheveldave's playoff resume includes carrying the Blazers all the way to the 2013 Western Conference final before being eliminated by the WHL champion Portland Winterhawks. Campese said that kind of experience is invaluble as the Raiders will have an experienced team ins 2013-14.
"If you look at our forward group it is a little bit older and mature. We've got an opportunity like we did last year, we were in the thick of things to win the Eastern division, it didn't happen. However we feel we can be just as competitive." said Campese who also felt goaltending was a question mark.
The move means it will be a major challenge for 19-year-old returnee Andy Desautels to crack the roster. Campese said last year's back-up to Luke Siemens has been a solid team player.
"Andy is a great kid who has worked hard, but he only played 600-minutes last year. Our two younger guys (Parenteau and McBride who are 17 and 16 years old respectively) are both Midget AAA guys and both excellent goaltenders".
Cheveldave admits he experienced a full range of emotions when he learned of the trade. He said shock and sadness quickly turned into excitement.
"I had a great couple of seasons in Kamloops." said the Calgary native. "This is a new opportunity for me and I'm going to make the best of it. I am very excited to be coming to PA and can't wait to come to camp and start playing this year."
The goalie who has a stellar 17-year-old season with the AJHL's Drunheller Dragons is thrilled about coming to a team that could contend in the WHL's Eastern conference.
"That was the main reason why I was so excited. I knew that PA was going to be a powerhouse this year and coming to a powerhouse team is always a good thing. I knew coming to Kamloops a couple years ago they were going to be good and that made it so much easier for me and this is even better coming to a good team that has a chance of coming out of (winning) the East."
Campese is elated to have Cheveldave, However he said it was tough to trade Kryski who had 59 goals and 59 assists in 58 games last season with the Bantam AAA Burnaby Winter Club. Campese said there was no guarantee Kryski who was selected 13th overall, would report to the Raiders.
"He was here at spring camp but there was always some hesitation whether he wanted to play in the Eastern division or be a heck of a lot closer to his home in Vancouver. We didn't want to get caught potentially in a situation in a year or two with a player that maybe doesn't show up."
Campese maintains Kryski would not have been moved without a player of Cheveldave's ability being available.
Last season the 20-year-old Siemens set several team records while appearing in 70 games including playoffs.
On Twitter: @RaidersVoice
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