Sunday, October 18, 2015

Braes Returning To UNB

File this under the "didn't see coming" department. According to the Varsity Reds website forward Cam Braes has decided to return to school and will join the team for the 2nd half.

After three seasons at UNB Braes graduated in the spring. He signed with the Texas Stars of the AHL in early July but had been assigned to the their East Coast Hockey League - the Idaho Steelheads - on October 5th. Rather than play in the ECHL Braes decided it was in his best interest to return to school and earn his Masters Degree in Kinesiology.

Although he is back on campus and can practice with the team, eligibility restrictions means Braes can't play in any games until after Christmas.

Obviously any time you can add a player of Braes stature into the line-up it is a huge addition. The veteran has tallied 69 points (26 goals, 43 assists) in 82 career regular season games. However, he has proven to raise his play even further in the playoffs, posting 18 points (7 goals, 11 assists) in 18 playoff games and 5 goals in 6 career games at the University Cup. He helped lead UNB to a National Championship in 2013 and a runner-up finish last season. Considering UNB never really filled the void at center left by his and Dana Fraser's departure, it would be reasonable to assume that he will slot right back into one of the top-2 center roles.

In terms of how this affects the roster, the addition of Braes means that the V-Reds now have 21 skaters. With a roster cap of 22 skaters this leaves them with the ability to add one more skater. Since they now have 15 forwards and 6 defenceman one would have to think they will be looking at adding another defenceman to round out the roster. Unfortunately, with Braes and Mike Thomas unable to play until the 2nd half and Stephen Anderson currently injured it leaves the V-Reds with only have 18 healthy skaters (12 forwards, 6 defenceman) available at the moment, just enough to ice a full squad. This mean they really cannot afford anymore injuries right now, especially to a defenceman. Hopefully this does not hurt them and they can get through the 1st half relatively unscathed.