The Winnipeg ICE has signed three players to standard player agreements.
Carl Stankowski, Goaltender
Seattle Thunderbirds’ fans will remember Stankowski’s excellent 2017 playoff performance that led to a WHL Championship. The ICE are hoping for a repeat performance.
Stankowski has a career 14-12-4 record in the WHL with the Thunderbirds and the Calgary Hitmen. Injuries derailed his WHL career, but there’s still plenty of talent to sap from the Calgary-born backstop. His .884 career save percentage doesn’t scream “world-beater,” but his most recent hockey stint with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees was stellar as he posted a 2.08 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage for a 14-3 record.
Right now, Stankowski should be fighting with two other goalies for the starting role vacated by Liam Hughes’ graduation. It won’t be easy, as the ICE have as many as six goalies potentially vying for a spot. There’s no clear-cut favourite, so it’s up to Stankowski to earn his coaches’ favour.
This is Stankowski’s final year of junior hockey, and Winnipeg provides him with a great chance to make it memorable. If it’s anything close to his 2016-17 season, Stankowski could get his second WHL Championship.
Anderson MacDonald, Forward
MacDonald will begin his WHL career with the Winnipeg ICE after four seasons in the QMJHL.
The 20-year-old has played for four teams through his four-year career, most recently with his hometown Saint John Sea Dogs. During his career, he’s been a solid middle-six scorer with a career .72 points-per-game percentage. He doesn’t have a lot of playoff experience, and only has two points in his one 12-game run, but the ICE should give him a chance to add to his totals.
MacDonald will be surrounded by some of the best players in his career. He’ll likely start on the second line left-wing spot, especially following the news of Michael Milne’s injury. The ICE only needs MacDonald to be a solid secondary scorer while providing veteran leadership and a calming presence. Given his track record, there’s no reason to expect anything else.
Brandt Young, Defenseman
A Manitoba boy picked up off the free-agent list adds more depth to a deep back end.
Brandt Young has never played in the WHL and only has five games in Junior A under his belt with the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze. However, he showed a lot of character and consistency on an expansion team in a brutal Southeast Division. He impressed enough for a contract, and he’ll have a chance to grow and learn with some talented blueliners.
Organizational depth is essential, especially in a bubble, and the 18-year-old can provide that now and in the future.