The Thunder has made four trades since December 30, and one more means Wichita will have replaced all of its most damaging departees.
Except that’s not exactly how it works.
The promotions of Jack Rodewald, Alex Krushylneski, Chris Rumble, Gabriel Gagne and Scott Greenham from Wichita, the second-level affiliate of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, to Triple-A Binghamton will hurt the Thunder no many how many subsequent transactions it makes.
The Thunder is in a place between pressing forward with the core players who haven’t been promoted and searching for players who can make up for the five who have had long-term stays in Binghamton.
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Wichita hosts Missouri Saturday night at Intrust Bank Arena.
“We could never anticipate those players going up being out as long as they have,” Thunder coach Malcolm Cameron said. “That was never the initial plan or intention on Ottawa’s or our part. We were supposed to provide depth (for Binghamton), not have all of our guys go up and stay there.
“When that happens, with the injuries, you’ve got to fill holes. You try some guys here, you try some guys there.”
Perhaps the most significant Thunder acquisitions have happened over the last nine days. On Jan. 5, Wichita acquired forward David Friedmann from Fort Wayne and the following day the Thunder traded for Zach O’Brien, a forward who spent last season in the American Hockey League.
Those players are seen as complementary players for now, but their status may change as they become more comfortable with their roles and with their teammates.
Wichita still has several players, such as James Melindy, Landon Oslanski, Ryan Tesink and Louick Marcotte, who have been with the team the entire season and who Cameron believes can become foundational pieces.
“That’s why they’re here,” Cameron said. “…A large part of our team has been here since training camp. But Jack Rodewald goes up to Binghamton and is their leading scorer up there. You don’t replace a Jack Rodewald.…
“Those types of guys don’t just grow on trees. They’re not just great players, they’re great people and they’re a big part of the locker room.”
Missouri at Thunder
- When: 7:05 p.m. Saturday
- Where: Intrust Bank Arena
- Records: Missouri 13-16-1-4, Thunder 12-17-1-1
- Broadcast: wichitathunder.com