The Rebels have four 20 year old's. Who will stay? Who will go? Surely, they can't trade their captain?
In the end, that's exactly what they did. Adam Kambeitz is now a member of the Saskatoon Blades.
In return for their fan favorite Captain, the Rebels get a forward whose potential upside is huge. Christian Stockl put up huge numbers playing midget AAA in Winnipeg (36 goals, 68 points in 38 games last season) and, as GM Brent Sutter noted in the Rebels media release for the trade, addresses the Rebels lack of depth in the '95 age group. Stockl was teammates with both Jesse Miller and Kevin Pochuk in Winnipeg.
When Underwood first arrived from Regina, the question as to which other '92-born player would be sent packing really was a tough one to answer. If you had asked me off the start, I'd have said Inglis would be the odd man out. But his stellar play over the last week took that scenario off of the board. Many speculated that the Rebels would get their best return in a trade if they dealt away Turner Elson. But, quite frankly, he's still the best all-around forward the Rebels have on their roster. And, clearly, Underwood wasn't brought in just to be sent packing again right away.
That meant it was time for Kambeitz to step up to the plate and prove his worth on the ice. In the room, there's no question Kambeitz was the emotional leader. (At this time last year, I even made a one-in-a-million prediction in choosing Kambeitz as the replacement for Colin Archer as Rebels Captain). But with the team's situation being what it was, he needed to crank things up offensively and he simply wasn't able to. The bright side for Kambeitz... unless something unforeseen comes up he'll be playing in the 2013 Memorial Cup in May. A great opportunity for a great guy.
With good reason, this will be a tough move for Rebels players and fans to digest. But it's my opinion that the Rebels made the right move given their situation. Even Sutter himself realizes the emotional magnitude of the deal as per his quote on the Rebels website...
"Adam’s been with our organization since he was 16-years old and has been our team captain since 2011. This is a tough trade to make because of what he’s done for this team. But we had four 20 year olds and had to make a decision before October 11th."
This afternoon via Twitter, the Rebels announced that Turner Elson will take over for Kambeitz as Rebels captain. The move came as somewhat of a surprise to fans (on my timeline at least) and, admittedly, me too, somewhat. Mathew Dumba was the odds on favorite amongst us amateur pundits to take over the captaincy. But the decision to go with Elson makes sense to me for a couple of reasons. With Dumba, you know what you're going to get from him each and every night at both ends of the rink. Motivation is not an issue for #24. I'm not necessarily saying that motivation is a problem for Elson, but the possibility of him elevating his game now that he'll officially be leading the way for this club is intriguing. He has the best all-around ability amongst the Rebels group of forwards. With some extra hitch in his giddyup, Elson could now be poised for big things to come in 2012-13.