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Wednesday, 01 June 2011 15:02

Lamb left scrambling after Richardson chooses Boston College

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Swift Current Broncos’ offence took a major hit last week.

Evan Richardson, the team’s first overall selection in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, decided not to join the Broncos. He instead committed to playing for Boston College in 2013.

Now that Richardson has made up his mind, Mark Lamb, the team’s head coach and general manager, is busy trying to figure out how the Broncos can generate some offence next season.

“You’re not going to find somebody to take his spot. It’s going to take some time,” said Lamb. “We’re going to have to do some tinkering around. The way our team is being built is from the defence, as you can see from the draft, and he’s a player who would fit in (our plans) perfectly that we’re not going to have now.”

Lamb always had two different rosters in his mind for the Broncos. One had Richardson, who had 12 goals and 30 assists for the Victoria Grizzlies last season, in the lineup and the other one didn’t.

Ideally, Lamb would have liked to have the Nanaimo, B.C., forward to centre one of the Broncos’ two lines. Now that the Broncos’ bench boss knows he won’t have the services of the 16-year-old, he’ll be expecting a lot more scoring by committee.

He will also be trying to figure out who will centre the team’s second line.

Lamb is anxiously waiting for training camp to start so he can see how good of shape players such as Shea Howorko, Colby Cave and Graham Black will be in. He suspects one of those three players will become a top-six centre, along with Taylor Vause.

He may also look at generating some more offence through a few trades. One thing Lamb won’t do, however, is make temporary fixes that could jeopardize the team’s rebuilding process.

“The trades we’re going to make won’t fill the hole up for just one year,” said Lamb, who is thinking about a few trades before training camp. “We have to be careful of that when we’re trying to build something. It has happened in the past where you have a leak and you fill it that year and two leaks open up next year.

“We have to be careful what we’re doing there and let this young team build and have them play and work the right way. Even though it could be a big hole, we’re not going to make a big trade to fill that hole unless that hole gets filled by a person who will be here for two or three years.”

Although Richardson’s decision to play American college hockey instead of major junior may slow down the Broncos’ rebuilding process and create more work for Lamb, he wasn’t disappointed with Richardson’s decision.

Lamb and Broncos’ assistant general manager and director of player personnel Jamie Porter had been in contact with Richardson and his family quite often. They have known he was on the fence for quite some time through their recruiting efforts.

The only thing that disappointed Lamb is he learned about Richardson’s decision through members of the community telling him instead of the young forward contacting him directly.

“I think kids should play their options out. It’s smart when they do. He thought long and hard about it,” said Lamb. “The only disappointing thing is we have been so fair with the kid and very up front with him. I really thought the Swift Current Broncos should have been the first to know.

“From the parents and family, we were open up together and I got four calls from people saying they heard it from someone else and I turned on the computer and it was there. I just thought it would be respectful for them (to call us).”

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