AMHERST – The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers continue to tweak their lineup prior to the club’s first exhibition game of the season.
Coach Josh Hepditch said the club has added defenceman Ryan Yould, who had been in the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies camp, while both forwards Logan Styler and Colby Livingstone are expected to arrive in camp from the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL.
“Ryan will be a nice addition on the blueline. He skates very well,” Hepditch said. “He was right there in the mix with Rouyn-Noranda.”
Yould was acquired in the deal with the Weeks Crushers.
Hepditch expects Styler in camp this week and Livingstone should be here next week.
“They’re both highly skilled forwards,” Hepditch said. “They would easily be among the top six in our lineup.”
The Ramblers open their exhibition schedule on Saturday at the Amherst Stadium against the Dieppe Commandos. Game time is 7 p.m. Hepditch said most of the veterans won’t play Saturday, but should be in the lineup on Sunday when the club plays the second half of the home-and-home at the Arthur J. LeBlanc Arena in Dieppe.
“It will be interesting to see which guys stop up. We haven’t really done a lot with line combinations in our inter-squad games. There are still spots to be had and this will be their chance to show us what they can do in a game situation,” Hepditch said. “The guys that are left are really starting to come together. There’s good chemistry and they’re eager to play an opposing team.”
Hepditch said the lineup will be in flux through the early part of the season, but he believes he will have a young and exciting hockey club. The coach said he has seen some pleasant surprises in camp and some of the free agents that arrived in town earlier this week look like they’re going to secure spots on the club. The coach is also happy with the leadership already being shown by several of the returning veterans.
“They’re buying into some leadership roles, which is what I need. They’re starting to show some of the younger guys the ropes,” Hepditch said.
The club still has about 35 players in camp and will use the exhibition games. Kai MacDonald, who played for Hepditch in British Columbia last season, has looked solid while Tyler Whiffen was released by the Blainville-Boisville Armada camp. Chase Marchand was released by the Charlottetown Islanders, but was picked up by the Victoriaville Tigres.
Goalie Nathan Armstrong, who played part of last season out west, is back in Riverview and hasn’t decided what to do this year, while Hepditch also remains hopeful Lucas Batt will eventually make his way to Amherst.