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Wednesday, 28 November 2012 16:45

Cleanup from Chynoweth era progressing nicely

Written by  Brad Brown, A Bard's Eye View
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Dean Chynoweth listens during his final press conference in Swift Current back in 2009. Dean Chynoweth listens during his final press conference in Swift Current back in 2009.

For a guy who was essentially left for dead from the day he was hired, Mark Lamb is looking pretty lively these days.

Call him a survivor of Hurricane Dean.
Yes, the Swift Current Broncos have won just 100 of 243 games regular season games and made the playoffs once since Lamb was hired as coach and general manager prior to the 2009-10 season.
And naturally, as the losses have piled up, so have the numbers of those calling for Lamb’s ouster.
A more appropriate response, however, would be to organize a public inquiry into the five-year tenure of his predecessor, Dean Chynoweth.
But why wait? Let the inquiring begin.
Chynoweth was in charge when the Broncos drafted four goalies over five years who played a combined 42 games in Swift Current.
Chynoweth was in charge of the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft when the Broncos selected 10 players, only two of whom were even in the league last season as 19-year-olds and none of whom were able to claim an over-age spot this year.
And Chynoweth was in charge of the 2009 Bantam Draft from which just one of his eight picks played even one game in the WHL. That player, Shea Howorko, suffered a concussion last December and hasn’t played since.
In the least scientific terms possible, this left Lamb next-to-nothing for 1992-born (this year’s over-agers) and 1994-born (now-18-year-old) players when he took over from Chynoweth in the summer of 2009.
Four bona fide WHLers (Graeme Craig, Reece Scarlett, Adam Lowry and Josh Derko) from Chynoweth’s 2008 draft aside, the pulse on the Broncos’ future was fading quickly.
A mere facelift wouldn’t be enough. Full skeletal reconstructive surgery and a central nervous system transplant might.
Lamb tackled the 1992 situation by signing a supposedly-finished Ryon Moser and trading a fringe defenceman for Dalton Reum. When Andy Blanke chose university over Swift Current for his 20-year-old season, Lamb replaced Blanke’s experience (if not his pugilistic talents) by trading a late draft pick for Chance Lund.
Of this year’s 18-year-olds Lamb signed Coda Gordon out of obscurity, acquired Colby Cave as part of the package for Cody Eakin and traded another late draft pick for the resurgent Levi Bews.
And all of this is to say nothing of maybe Lamb’s greatest coup, acquiring 1993-born centre Graham Black from the Edmonton Oil Kings two years ago for an eighth-round draft pick.
Including Howorko and the since-traded Craig, just five of Chynoweth’s final 28 draft picks — now in the ever-critical 18, 19, and 20-year-old age groups — started this season on the Broncos’ roster.
A total of four current Broncos were brought in on Chynoweth’s watch.
By comparison, Lamb’s first draft with the Broncos (2010) has already yielded five roster players, including the team’s top defenceman in Dillon Heatherington.
Looking down the road, Brycen Martin (first round, second overall, 2011) and Glenn Gawdin (1/5, 2012) figure to be major players for years to come. And recent performances by several other Broncos prospects from those two drafts have given plenty of reason for optimism in Broncoland.
It remains to be seen if this will completely clean up the disaster Chynoweth left in his wake, but there’s no doubt the Broncos’ on-ice future is infinitely brighter today than it was three years ago at this time.
For that, Lamb deserves full credit.

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