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BCHL Next Generation: Nanaimo Clippers

All summer we’ll be going team-by-team to profile new players coming in for the 2019-20 season with recaps of offseason commits and acquisitions. We will also have interviews and scouting reports from the coaches.

Next up is the Nanaimo Clippers.

The Clippers were one the youngest teams in the BCHL last season and that was by design. Head coach Darren Naylor, who took over midway through the 2017-18 season, had a plan that he set in motion last offseason and has continued into this summer with the addition of several new players.

“We really wanted to put our stamp on it last year and bring in the type of team that we wanted,” said Naylor. “We built a young team and went through last year and had a decent season. This year, in year two of the rebuild, we’ve taken a big step in solidifying the goaltending and some of the forwards we brought in to surround the guys from last year, so I think it’s a really good fit.

“Usually on a rebuild it takes three years, but I think in year two we’re going to have a really strong team.”

2019-20 commits

Timmy Washe (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Detroit, Mich.
  • Previous team: Victory Honda U18 (T1EHL U18)
  • Commitment: Western Michigan University (2020-21)

Washe was the leading scorer on his major midget team in Detroit with 31 points in 27 games.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“He’s a player that we identified at the US Nationals. He’s a big, strong, physical centreman who is going to be a good 200-foot player for us. He plays the way I like, so he just caught my attention. He was the captain of his team and was the leader of that squad. It wasn’t the strongest of teams, but you could see his compete level was pretty high.”

Brandon Buhr (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Burnaby, B.C.
  • Previous team: Vancouver NW Hawks (BCMML)

The 17-year-old had 15 goals and 28 assists for 43 points in 39 games last year. He also played one game for the Coquitlam Express as an affiliate.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“He’s a boy that I have some familiarity with. I coached him back in the Atom, Peewee days at the Burnaby Winter Club. He’s a kid who just scores goals. He’s a big, strong boy for his age, he’s probably pushing 6-foot-2. He’s got a real knack around the net and he can just bury. When the puck is on his stick, it usually ends up in the net. If he plays with the right guys and in the right situations, he can score some goals for us.”

Cade Cavallini (2000, F)

  • Hometown: West Vancouver, B.C.
  • Previous team: West Van Academy Prep (CSSHL)

Born in West Vancouver, Cavallini played his youth hockey in Oakland, Mich. before coming back to play for his hometown team where he spent the last two seasons. He had 56 points in 34 games last year and led his team in goals with 28.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“I watched him and you can tell he has the hockey IQ as well as an unbelievable shot. He shoots the puck properly. He has the potential that, if he’s in the right spot, he’s a guy that can put the puck in the net. I’m looking forward to seeing if he can do it at the next level. He’s been out skating a couple times and I’ve been impressed with him.”

Blake Wood (2001, G)

  • Hometown: Nanaimo, B.C.
  • Previous team: Nanaimo Buccaneers (VIJHL)/Cowichan Valley Capitals

Wood will play for his hometown team after also playing Junior B in Nanaimo for the past two seasons. The 18-year-old played 14 games for the Cowichan Valley Capitals last year as well.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“We want a good tandem where the goalies push each other. He’s a local boy and he’s a player I’m familiar with through spring programs. He’s a year younger than [my son] Jordan, so I watched him play for a lot of years and I’ve always thought, for his age group, he’s probably one of the top-two goalies. I think with some confidence under him and a solid defence group that lets him see the shots he should be seeing, Blake could be a real asset.”

Travis Walton (1999, F)

  • Hometown: Abbotsford, B.C.
  • Previous team: Kamloops Blazers (WHL)

After getting into a pair of games as an affiliate for the Chilliwack Chiefs in the 2015-16 season, Walton played the last three years in Kamloops.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“He’s a big, strong guy who can shoot the puck and he competes really hard. He maybe just needs to get some confidence back after jumping up to the WHL and not being given the right opportunities. He brings a real leadership factor to the room too. He’s a real calming presence. On the ice, I’m looking for him to provide some big minutes and put some pucks in the net as well.”

Acquired via trade

Trevor LeDonne (2000, D)

  • Hometown: Stoney Creek, Ont.
  • Previous team: Brantford 99ers (OJHL)

LeDonne was the third-leading scorer on his team last year in Brantford, putting up 35 points in 47 games from the blueline. He spent the last two years in the OJHL, suiting up for the Oakville Blades prior to joining the 99ers.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“He has pretty much every element we’re looking for. When I watched him play, I thought he reminded me a little bit of a Scott Stevens in a way. He’s not as big, but he plays tough like that and he can move the puck and play in all situations. We’re really happy with that pickup. We felt we needed at least one more high-end defenceman to round out our top four and he fits in really nicely.”

Liam Ryan (2000, F)

  • Hometown:New Westminster, B.C.
  • Previous team: Surrey Eagles

The fifth player on our list born in B.C., Ryan started last season with the Prince George Cougars of the WHL before joining the Eagles. He put up five goals and four assists in 22 games for Surrey last year.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“He’s a player who I go back to the minor hockey days with at Burnaby Winter Club. He’s another guy I like because he competes hard. He needs a little more ice-time and a little more confidence, but I think he can be a really good contributor.”