As announced yesterday, forward Tyler Lees is the newest member of the Swift Current Broncos, after he was acquired from the Victoria Royals in exchange for a conditional 9th rounder in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft.
Not only is there familiarity with a pair of Broncos teammates, but Lees' rookie season was with the Dean Brockman-coached Saskatoon Blades.
"Tyler's a guy I'm familiar with - just a hard-working guy," said Brockman, the head coach and director of hockey operations with the Broncos. "For us, adding depth - lost some bodies over the weekend, and you have to have guys to replace them with. We feel Tyler comes in at the right age group and at the right price."
The 2001-born Lees stands at 5-foot-1, weighing in at 168 pounds, though Brockman says he plays beyond his measurements.
"He's a guy that's going to take hits to get pucks out, and he mixes it up. He can play that two-way game. At our level, he's a guy that can contribute given the opportunity. Certainly there's lots of opportunity here."
Lees had three points in 32 games as a rookie with the Blades, and has as many points in 27 games with the Royals before yesterday's trade.
The opportunity is there for Lees to expand his role and skill-set, though Brockman says that all depends on the Regina-born forward.
"I guess Tyler will be the only guy that can control that," he said. "For us, we want to get him familiar with our group as quickly as possible. Hopefully by the weekend we can get him in. Those are types of things that we'll experiment with as we close out the second half of the year."
Lees becomes just the fourth left-handed forward out of 13 on the roster (Culling, Zawatsky, and Kiviniemi), and allows the Broncos coaching staff to create more lineup options.
"Making an acquisition, you always look at trying to move guys around in different spots in the lineup. For some peculiar reason, we have a lot of right-handed shots on our lineup. It's nice to get that left-handed shot where you can move guys around, and certainly try to fit him into different slots in the lineup for sure."
The potential exists for added versatility with Lees heading to Swift Current, though Brockman admits balancing out the lineup is just as important.
"We need bodies. We've had (Christian Riemer) playing forward, he's typically a defenceman. So, if we can alleviate that, and get him some games on the back end to see what he can do there, I think it's a smart move for us."
Two Broncos forwards should be making their debut by the weekend, with a third returning to the lineup.
Kye Buchanan, who the Broncos signed to a WHL Standard Player Agreement this past weekend, is in the southwest.
"Buchanan practiced (yesterday) and he'll be in the lineup Wednesday," said Brockman.
"I think with Lees, it'll be more on the weekend - he drove to Victoria, so we're asking him to drive home," said the Broncos bench boss. "We want to get him acclimatized, so that's a two-day trip for him. It would be asking too much to play on the Wednesday. In that situation, we'll just go with the guys we've got."
Lastly, a previously-ill Joona Kiviniemi looks to join Buchanan on the ice tomorrow night.
"Kivi should be good to go - he practiced (yesterday), however it looks like he needs some conditioning. But, when you miss a week, definitely that affects you."
The Broncos look to push for a second-straight win on home ice, as they host the Red Deer Rebels Wednesday night at the Innovation Credit Union iPlex.