Minnesota has been one of the WHL’s busiest teams recently making a couple of trades that will help their squad push for a playoff run. Minnesota added wingers Jamie Langenbrunner and Sergei Samsonov during the All-Star break. Langenbrunner, a speedy and skilled veteran was brought over in exchange for a 3rd round pick in next season’s draft and Tim Ramholt, a 5th round pick from last year’s draft. Sergei Samsonov, a highly skilled winger with some great speed, was traded for Toni Lydman and a 4th round pick in next season’s draft. Both players are expected to play high minutes and contribute on the special teams.
The loss of Lydman created a whirl-wind of speculation that Minnesota would be trading Robbie Schremp, Darcy Tucker or even the highly touted prospect Brian Elliott to bring in more help at the point. Management met early in the week to discuss the team’s best option and in the end it was moving Schremp in exchange for young defenseman Paul Ranger. Ranger will give Minnesota the added depth it will need at the point for this season and beyond. “He moves the puck really well and can play well in his own end which makes us excited about this move,” stated Head Coach, Barry Melrose. “We liked Robbie a lot and we were really anxious to see his potential play out but in the end we had a lot of guys that played a similar style to him and we needed another defenseman. We wish Robbie the best of luck.”
The moves made by Minnesota likely caused a bit of a shock around the league as Minnesota was currently tied for 9th place in their conference sitting 3 games out of a playoff spot when the moves were made. But, with the recent surge in performance by Minnesota, the Rink Rats feel strongly that there is a chance at making a playoff push and that the new players brought in will help contribute next season as well.
“We wouldn’t have made these changes if our team hadn’t been performing so well as of late,” stated GM Rink Rat. “Not only will these guys help us make a push for the playoffs this season, but they’ll likely help our team next season as well. We feel very strongly that next year’s squad will be a strong contender and although we have some ground to make up right now, we’re hopeful that we can continue our winning ways and our guys will put together a strong playoff run.”