The 20-year-old shuffle is an inevitability every season in junior hockey.
This season, the Pats are carrying four 19-year-olds, so that means they will have to move on from at least one for next season. It may be a trade or cutting a player; either way, a decision will have to be made. Carson Denomie is one of those 19-year-olds. He was acquired from Moose Jaw on November 18th, 2019.
Denomie has had the best month of his junior career in January, racking up eight goals, eight assists for 16 points in 13 games played. He was held pointless just three times. In fact, eight goals were a season-high for Denomie. He accomplished that last season, split between Moose Jaw and Kamloops.
“I think it’s easier, too, when you can get comfortable with the guys. It’s not like you’re going out there with a guy who you don’t know and you’re playing a shift with them. I know everybody on this team now. We’re close and we know each other and what we’re all about. So it makes it easier.”
-Denomie on finding chemistry lately
After the trade to Regina, Denomie had a variety of linemates, but with the trade of Ty Kolle to Everett, he has found a home paired up with Austin Pratt.
“Playing with Austin has been a real treat. He’s set me up on some real nice looks,” said Denomie on Pratt.
Denomie now sits second in team scoring with 17 goals and 23 assists for 40 points. He is two points back of Pratt for the team lead. Robbie Holmes leads the team in goals with 18. Denomie’s previous season-high for points was in his rookie campaign where he had 19 points for the Blazers.
“He’s a natural goal scorer and he knows how to make plays. It’s really fun getting to play with a player like that. He’s something special. It’s easy, just give him the puck and he scores,” said Austin Pratt on playing with Denomie.
Next year is on his mind, knowing that there are only 66 spots available league-wide for 20-year-old players.
“I’m wanting to get better as a player, for yourself and contributing to the team’s wins as much as you can. I think at this point in the season it’s almost like you’re trying to make an impression for next season and giving the coaches and GM a reason to keep you here for next year.”
-Denomie on the home stretch of the season
Pats head coach Dave Struch responded with a big smile when asked about Denomie after a recent game.
“He’s playing good, plays the right way, puts himself in positions to score goals. He gets out there and they do the proper things, he gets chances to score, and because he can shoot, he can score some goals.”
-Struch on Denomie
Denomie is making a strong case to return next year with the Pats or another organization looking for an upgrade at the 20-year-old position.