Already set in goal, on defence and at centre, Fred Harbinson just needs to add a few wingers to fill out the 2019-20 Penticton Vees roster.
With training camp still two months away and another three weeks from there before the B.C. Hockey League regular season commences, the Vees president, GM and head coach is in no rush.
“We’re going to be patient with it,” said Harbinson, who will be attending the 2019 NHL Entry Draft this Friday and Saturday in Vancouver. “We’ll have some options.”
The Vees are loaded down the middle with returnee David Silye, veteran acquisitions Jay O’Brien and Colton Kalezic, and prized young recruit Danny Weight.
“We’ve got 11 forwards committed and we really like the entire group,” said Harbinson. “We want to get to 13 and it’s more on the wing where we need to add. We’re in a real good spot down the middle.”
Lukas Sillinger, Jack Barnes and Jackson Niedermayer are the returning wingers, Drew Elser could also be back, Alex DiPaolo was acquired in a trade from Coquitlam and Tristan Amonte and Liam Malmquist are among the top young recruits.
The Vees figure to add a winger in the impending trade for 20-year-old centre Cassidy Bowes. Harbinson said the deal should get done within the next few days.
“We’ll get Cassidy to a good spot for (this season),” said Harbinson. “We’re just trying to get the right piece in return.”
Excluding Bowes, the Vees still have seven quality 20-year-olds and will have to get down to six before the season starts. So, another winger could be reaped in a deal for the odd man out among the 20-year-olds.
“There are a lot of ways we can do it,” said Harbinson. “We’ll take our time, make sure we find the right fit.”
Harbinson said he anticipates the BCHL schedule being released shortly after the NHL draft.
The regular season starts Sept. 6, with the coach confirming the Vees will be on the road for the first few weeks as per usual. He said the home opener will be on the Sept. 27-28 weekend.
The Vees already finalized their pre-season slate of games.
Penticton visits West Kelowna on Aug. 21 and Merritt Aug. 23, then host Merritt Aug. 24 and West Kelowna Aug. 28 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.