I’m not sure if Brent Sutter is a fan of Canadian rockers Trooper but he inadvertently seems to have followed a line from one of their songs with regard to shaking things up when it comes to the Red Deer Rebels lineup.
The lyric in question goes like this, “If you don’t like what you’ve got, why don’t you change it?” The ball is in your court Mr. Sutter.
“I’ve got a plan in place and I’m going to follow through on it,” said the owner and G.M. of the Rebels when asked about the moves he’s made change the face of the team.
In no particular order he has picked up 20-year-old defenceman Brandon Underwood and forwards Matt Bellerive, Christian Stockl, Wyatt Johnson and Austin Ferguson. He wasn’t done working the phones so he sent captain Adam Kambeitz to Saskatoon and in the process promoted 20-year-old Turner Elson as the new leader.
All of this has taken place over a short period of time.
“There’s a couple of things at the start of the season I felt we needed to improve on and those are the things I’m working on here right now,” said Sutter.
As far as the move with Elson is concerned, the change for him was bittersweet in becoming captain as it came with a price tag of losing a team mate and friend in Kambeitz.
“He was one of my best friends, great player, a great leader and I’m just going to try and pick up where he left off,” said Elson. “It’s a good responsibility. It makes you better as a leader, as a person, so it’s a good thing to have right now and I’m going to enjoy it and work with it.”
The view through the eyes of other players was somewhat similar to what Elson was feeling after the news was delivered the
“I’m so happy for him. It’s a great opportunity,” said Mathew Dumba, of Kambeitz moving to the Blades who will host the CHL championship this year. “The things that can come out of a Memorial Cup.”
Elson said it was a difficult conversation with the owner and coaching staff because he was still worried about his friend’s future with a new team and for Sutter, having to sit down Kambeitz was not an easy task.
“It’s never easy to tell a player that’s been here for four years and was your captain that you’re moving him on,” Sutter said.
But after talking with anyone who travels with the team and knows the room, sewing the ‘C’ on Elson’s sweater was the right choice in his mind, a feeling which is backed up by the young men who share the ice with him.
“He’s always been a leader in the room, a 20-year-old guy, everyone respects him and that’s what you need in the room,” said Dumba.
In addition to the trade with Saskatoon and the other moves which garnered the above mentioned players Sutter got back some draft picks as well.
He also sent local product Scott Feser to Camrose of the AJHL and defenceman Stephen Hak to Steinbach of the Manitoba junior league so it’s very clear to the remaining players that nobody is immune.
“There’s decisions that have to be made. I can’t get attached personally with me. I have to be able to separate that and make sure whatever decision I make is the right decision for the organization,” said Sutter.
So with all that in mind you couldn’t blame Rebels players for getting a little nervous when they see the GM on the phone these days.