By Craig Stein
LEAGUE LEADER IN GOALS TURNING HEADS
It was a very typical junior hockey trade deadline move. Contending team acquires 20-year-old veteran from a team out of contention, in exchange for a promising rookie. The contenders come out of the deal stronger now, while the other club gets younger with a more promising future.
That was the situation last season when the Humboldt Broncos moved 20-year-old Jarrett Fontaine to the Weyburn Red Wings. Fontaine provided a veteran presence for the Division-leading Red Wings, and going the other way was rookie forward Chris Van Os-Shaw, who had 10-points in 24-games with the Wings to that point. After the trade, he racked up 10-goals and 22-points in 16 games in Humboldt, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Van Os-Shaw is the SJHL leader in goals at the midway point of this season, having put up 23-goals through 29-games, and he’s done much of it without his regular linemates.
“Obviously getting traded from a top team to a last place team was tough at first,” said Van Os-Shaw, now nearly a year after the deadline deal. “But I was in and out of the lineup in Weyburn which was hard, and getting traded to Humboldt, it’s been good, I’ve had a lot more ice time and I clicked with (Trevor) Posch and (Logan) Schatz right away. It’s too bad they’re out right now but we’re battling through some adversity.”
Humboldt Coach & GM Darcy Haugan made the deal that brought Van Os-Shaw to the Broncos a year ago, and admits they weren’t expecting this kind of offensive output so soon. Haugen says the Broncos have had to battle through several key injuries through the first half of this season, and Van Os-Shaw has risen to the top offensively and in the room.
“He’s had an assortment of linemates so he’s really taken it on himself to be the leader on this hockey team. I’m really proud of the steps he’s taken as a leader and he’s had to battle through some stuff and learn how to be that type of guy, so full marks to him.”
Haugan says the 19-year-old is starting to garner plenty of interest from schools, and it’s not hard to see why, adding the 6’3” 206 lb left-winger has it all – size, speed, and scoring touch.
“He’s got to be one of the fastest guys in the league right now, his straightaway speed is pretty phenomenal. His shot is probably the hardest on our team, and he competes hard, goes to the net hard. He’s really worked hard on developing his whole game, his attention to detail has improved and he’s really grown as a player and a person. With the amount of injuries we’ve had he’s really had to step up his leadership and it’s been nice to see. The sky is the limit for Chris, I think it’s really up to him how hard he works and I’m seeing that he’s ready to put the work in.”
Van Os-Shaw agrees that much of him getting to the next level will fall on him.
“Darcy gave me a chance to get a lot of ice time, so I’ve been working as hard as I can and things are going my way. I just have to keep working hard and see what happens but the goal is to get a Division I scholarship to the States for sure, I’ve started studying for my SAT and getting prepared for that.”
There are certainly other Broncos worthy of getting a look from scouts this season, and Haugen was quick to point out how unfortunate the injury has been for 19-year-old Logan Schatz, who he feels could be the top centreman in the league. Before an early-season injury, Schatz had 7-points in 5-games, and going back to last year, had 63-points in his last 62 games, and was likely tracking for an 75-80 point campaign this year.
“He had 55 points in 55 games last season and a lot of that came down the stretch when he was with “Vanner” and Posch and they started to grow together and find their stride with our hockey team,” said Haugan. “It’s a tough break for us and for him but also a blessing because we’ve had to pay a lot more attention to detail and not just try to win a 7-5 game because we had the firepower and it’s helped us round out our game. So hopefully once he’s back we can maintain the improved structure along with the offensive prowess that a lot of our guys have.”
Haugen was hopeful to see Schatz back in the lineup shortly before, or after the Christmas break.
(Full audio with Haugan & Van Os-Shaw below)