Swift Current Broncos
The Swift Current Broncos made pair of trades prior to last week’s trade deadline adding a pair of forwards to their already potent attack. They got things moving early with the New Years Day acquisition of overager Nathan Burns and then made a late move Friday, adding 18-year-old Geordie Maguire.
Burns made an immediate impact, scoring only 1:30 into his home debut, a 5-0 win over his former team, the Saskatoon Blades.
“It was awesome, it felt really good,” said the 6’2’’ Edmonton native. “There are unreal fans here, it felt like they are all so supportive of the team. I think that is pretty cool. I have played in Vancouver and Saskatoon and they are definitely bigger cities, but the fan support is different here and I like it a lot.”
Burns had 16 goals and 27 assists in 40 games with the rebuilding Blades. He also boasted a plus-five rating for a team that had allowed 53 more goals than they had scored. Burns was acquired along with a seventh round pick in 2014. Heading the other way was overage forward Connor Sanvido, as well as prospect Wyatt Sloboshan, a second round pick in 2014, and a conditional third round pick in 2015.
“I kind of had a feeling that I was going to get traded, there was rumors and stuff going around. I didn’t know where or who was trying to get me or whatnot. It kind of caught me by surprise but I am happy,” said Burns.
He said he is excited to skate with the home team at the Credit Union iplex.
“Actually I remember that every time we came to this rink it is a hard rink to play in. Swift Current they use it to their advantage, they definitely take away your time and space and they are a hard team to play against.”
Burns finished the weekend tied for 22nd in league scoring with 46 points in 44 games but he prides himself in playing a two-way game. His work in the faceoff circle stood out during his debut weekend at home with the Broncos.
“I just kind of take pride in it. I just switched over to centre this year actually. I was all right at face-offs, it was something that I wanted to bear down on and work on, I think that has definitely added to my game. It is a two-way game and I think that is one of the biggest parts is being able to compete and know what to do at both ends of the ice. I just really take pride in that.”
“He has been excellent,” said Broncos General Manager and Head Coach Mark Lamb after seeing Burns’ impact during four games in a Bronco uniform. “He is a good two-way player and he lays it out there every shift. He is going to fit right in here, he has already fit in like he has been here all year. He knows our systems. I look at him at the end [tonight] winning those face-offs, creating scoring chances, he is just going to be a solid player for us.”
Lamb had been looking to upgrade his line-up with a top-six forward as the deadline approached.
“It was that type of player… A good 94 like that just wasn’t around. He was a guy that we were watching really close. He could play left wing, he could play centre. He is a compliment player that I think really fits into our game.”
Lamb also pulled the trigger to add Maguire on deadline day. The Broncos sent a sixth-round pick in the 2015 draft to the Regina Pats in return. The 6'0, 175-pound left wing has seven goals and seven assists in 27 games with Regina this season. The Winnipeg native also had a minus-three rating and 20 penalty minutes.
We have a very deep team. We have four good lines, we have very good defense, and Eetu in net, he is one of those goalies that can steal you a lot of games Nathan Burns
“I am pretty excited. These guys are high in the standings and have put themselves in a good position going forward and heading into the playoffs. I am really excited to get the chance to contribute to a team that is definitely a playoff contender,” said Maguire, who has yet to make his debut with the Broncos.
He skated last season with the Brandon Wheat Kings with four goals, five assists, and 18 penalty minutes in 65 games as a rookie before joining the Pats this season.
“I was in a bit of slump going into the trade deadline so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. When we picked up [Logan] McVeigh there I kind of realized that I was probably going to get bumped out of where I was playing usually. I wasn’t too surprised, but it is always a weird feeling when you get traded.”
He had played in eight games against the Broncos during his career, notably scoring both goals for the Pats in the season opening 7-2 loss.
“I never enjoyed playing the Broncos. They were always a really hard-hitting and hard-working team and that is what I am going to have to do to be able to contribute with this team.”
He was riding a five-game pointless streak in Regina but is hoping to find his scoring touch in Swift Current.
“I am the type of player that likes to use my speed, get in on the forecheck, chip pucks in and I also like to use my shot when I get the opportunity. I think I am going to be able to definitely contribute some secondary scoring with this team. Wherever I can chip in I will do everything I can.”
“He is a skill guy,” said Lamb. “He is another one of those guys that is trying to find his way. We have had a few guys in here that have done that. With his upside he will dictate exactly where he will fit and how much he play on this team, but he has the skill.”
The Broncos should be a different team this weekend with the addition of Burns and Maguire and the return of defenseman Julius Honka from the World Junior Championships.
“I think we can be one of the dominant teams in the league,” said Burns. “We have a very deep team. We have four good lines, we have very good defense, and Eetu in net, he is one of those goalies that can steal you a lot of games. Obviously we don’t want to rely on him, but I think we have a very deep group and we can go as far as we want to go I think.”
Burns was impressed with the team off the ice as well.
“It is a really tight group in the dressing room. I think that is kind of the biggest difference is that there is no gaps between older guys and younger guys and I think that is a huge part to a team. I think without that it allows you to bond and you can build chemistry way easier than if there is cliques.”