Zachary Gladu, F
La Ronge Ice Wolves
He has never been prone to produce much offensively, but 18-year-old Zachary Gladu has been a nice surprise for the offensively-starved La Ronge Ice Wolves.
The Golden Prairie, Alta., product, who has not scored more than four times in a season since his minor-midget days back in southern Alberta, has four goals in his first 14 games with the Ice Wolves this year and he has also brought an edge to his game by accumulating 29 minutes in penalties.
The 6-foot-1, 207-pound sophomore winger failed to score in 20 games with the Ice Wolves last year and in 13 matches with the Kindersley Klippers before being dealt to La Ronge in January, for Chase Daniels, he had just one goal and two helpers.
In his final year of midget hockey before moving east to Saskatchewan he had 4-6-10 totals in 33 games with the SEAC Tigers of the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League. It was as a 15-year-old while playing minor midget hockey that Gladu had the most success statistically when he registered 17 goals and seven assists to go along with 80 penalty minutes.
The Ice Wolves have struggled out of the gate, but when they turn things around that should only help Gladu to put up bigger numbers. While his offensive output might not turn heads, his size and ability will certainly get other team’s attention.
Mathieu Jallabert, F
That appears to be the best way to describe Melville Millionaire rookie Mathieu Jallabert.
Despite being just 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds he has, in the past at least, been able to find the back of the net while also bringing some grit to his game.
Jallabert, who will turn 19 on November 10, has three goals and three assists in his first 13 games in the SJHL and he has also picked up 23 minutes in penalties to continue with a trend that has followed him during his entire career.
Prior to joining the Millionaires, Jallabert spent two seasons with the Oceanside Generals of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. The Nanaimo native appeared in 38 games with the Generals last year and had 18 goals, 28 assists and 158 penalty minutes while the year before with the Generals he produced 15-25-40 totals to go with 69 minutes in penalties in 35 games.
Even when he was playing midget hockey with the North Island Silvertips his blueprint was followed. He had three goals and 11 assists, along with 113 penalty minutes, as a 16-year-old and one year prior to that he produced 2-4-6 totals and, yes, he even sat out 53 minutes in the penalty box.
The Millionaires are in a new era with a new coach and numerous new faces. Jallabert looks to be someone that can bring plenty of excitement to the Melville fans, not just this year, but next year as well.
La Ronge Ice Wolves, F
It hasn't been an easy start to the season for the La Ronge Ice Wolves, but one of the bright spots early on has been 19-year-old forward Tristen Elder. He kicked off the season scoring goals in four of his first five games. The Kinistino, SK product spent most of last season with the WHL's Swift Current Broncos, where he put up two points in 38-games. Prior to his junior career, Elder suited up with the Tisdale Trojans in Midget 'AAA' for two seasons, and had 32-points (16g-16a) in 44-games as a 16-year-old before making the jump to the Ice Wolves the following year.
Melville Millionaires, G
In his first nine starts of the 2016-2017 season, Brandon Wells was 5-4-0, despite facing more than 30 shots in 8 of them. After dropping his first two decisions of the season, Wells gave up three goals or less in his next seven starts (and three only once), and that included a hard-luck loss where he made 51/53 saves in Flin Flon. Before the season, first-year Millionaires' Coach/GM Devin Windle called Wells a big, athletic goalie who appeared ready to become a top-tier puck stopper in the SJHL, and so far 6-foot-2 Spirit River, Alberta product appears right on track.
Kindersley Klippers, F
He came on strong towards the end of last season, and Josh Bly has continued to lead the Kindersley Klippers through the first quarter of his 20-year-old season. The Saskatoon product came up through the 'AAA' ranks with the Battlefords Stars, putting up 65 points (21g-44a) in his 17-year-old season. In his rookie season of Junior, Bly suited up out west with the BCHL's West Kelowna Warriors, and arrived back in his home province with the Klippers last year, finishing with 29-points in just 35 games. Bly is already nearing his goal total from a year ago and if healthy, shouldn't have trouble setting a new career high in points either.