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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 2020-21 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 Nanaimo Clippers were crowned Island Division champions in the regular season last year and a lot of their success can be attributed to the team’s stingy defence as they allowed the second-fewest goals in the BCHL with an average of 2.3 against per game.

Their top-six defencemen can take a lot of credit for that accomplishment, but the biggest reason they were so tough to score against was their goaltending. Jordan Naylor was the starter last year and is set to return for his third season in the league this year. Not only did his numbers stand out when looking at the 2019-20 season, they put his name on the list of the all-time great seasons by BCHL netminders.

Naylor finished with the third-best save percentage all-time in a single season with a mark of .935 and tied for the fourth-most shutouts with six, just one off the league record. He also finished with a 2.02 goals-against average which was second-best among his peers last year.

His head coach in Nanaimo just happens to be his father Darren, who isn’t surprised that his son’s game took off in his second season in the league.

“In most leagues he’s stepped into, there’s been a year for an adjustment period and then he figures things out and makes those adjustments,” said the senior Naylor. “He’s always been able to have success thereafter. There were good steps that he took last year and we’re looking for him to make even bigger strides this year.”

With so much turnover from year to year in junior hockey, it’s sometimes difficult to predict if any kind of momentum or success can carry over from the previous season, but according to Naylor, the returning players from last year’s team will have some intangibles that couldn’t otherwise be taught.

“The culture of winning is important,” he said. “When you have guys that have been around some success and seen what it takes and have learned from some of the older guys that were in the room, that’s huge. You can’t really teach the culture of winning. You have to be in that environment and see the little things and nuances that it takes to win.”

New recruits:

Carter Rose (2002, D)

  • Hometown: Brasher Falls, N.Y.
  • Previous team: Holderness School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Clarkson University (2022-23)

Rose led Holderness in scoring as a defenceman in 2019-20, putting up 29 points in 28 games. He also led the team in assists with 22.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“Carter is a blue-chip defenceman. He’s the type of player who we identified as someone we really needed. We lost four of our six defencemen from last year, so we needed to replace what we lost. Carter was a guy that was hunted by a lot of teams in our league and we were fortunate that he chose to come play in Nanaimo.”

Kyle Van Compernolle (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Williamsburg, Mich.
  • Previous team: Fox Motors U18 (T1EHL)
  • College commitment: Michigan Tech University (2021-22)

The 18-year-old played seven games for Fox Motors last year, but made the most of his time on the ice totaling four goals and three assists for seven points to tie for the team lead in scoring.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“Kyle is a big 6-foot-7 centreman. He’s got an advisor I know from out east who knows the type of players I like and he said this guy will really blossom with the style of play that we coach. I really believe it’s good to have big centremen and this year, we don’t have a centreman under 6-foot-3, so we’ll be pretty big up the middle.”

Kai Daniells (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Whistler, B.C.
  • Previous team: Delta Hockey Academy (CSSHL)

The 17-yaer-old was a standout for Delta lasts season, registering 33 points in 27 games. He also got into one BCHL game as an affiliate with the Chilliwack Chiefs.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“He came to our prospect camp two years ago and got on our radar. He’s the kind of guy that I really like. He’s got a high skill level, but he’s also not the most fun guy to play against. He’s a checker out there. He reminds me sometimes of [former NHL player] Kenny Linseman. He can be a little rat out there. All the other guys on the team are chasing him around, but meanwhile he’s putting the puck in the net.”

Nick Desantis (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Collegeville, Pa.
  • Previous team: New Jersey Junior Titans (NAHL)
  • College commitment: Miami University (2021-22)

After starting 2019-20 with the Sioux Falls Stampeders of the USHL, Desantis moved on to play for New Jersey in the NAHL where he put up 21 points in 31 games.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“Nick is a player that our associate coach Colin Birkas is really familiar with and he can’t say enough about how good he is. We’re looking forward to getting this guy. His skill level is through the roof and he’s going to be a really big addition for us.”

Shaun Mahoney (2002, F)

  • Hometown: St-Augustin-de-Demaures, Que.
  • Previous team: Stanstead College (CAHS)
  • Cornell University (2021-22)

Mahoney was Stanstead’s second-leading scorer last season when he totaled 60 points in 56 games.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“Shaun is another player that Colin [Birkas] brought us from out east. He’s a real high-end guy and also a hard worker. We wanted to go out and get a guy with his style and his tenacity.”

Ben Dexheimer (2002, D)

  • Hometown: Edina, Minn.
  • Previous team: Blake School (USHS-MN)
  • College commitment: Miami University (2021-22)

The 18-year-old was nearly a point per game last year at Blake, racking up 23 points in 24 games.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“He’s yet another player that our associate coach Colin Birkas recruited. He’s going to come in and be a key addition for us and bring some leadership and a very high skill level.”

Jaeger Murdock (2004, F)

  • Hometown: West Vancouver, B.C.
  • Previous team: Burnaby Winter Club Prep (CSSHL)

Murdock put up nine goals, 17 assists and 26 points in 36 games for Burnaby Winter Club in 2019-20. He also played in one game for the Clippers as an affiliate.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“Jaeger is a younger guy that we’re taking as one of our under-age players. He’s a boy that I had coached along the way through spring hockey. He’s a big kid. He’s already about 6-foot-4. He’s one of the higher-end guys for his age group. We’re getting him in here maybe a year or two early, so he can really learn how to play at this level and be a really high-end guy for us down the road.”

Elijah Devereaux (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Webster, N.Y.
  • Previous team: Northwood School (USHS-Prep)

Devereaux put up solid numbers in his third season at Northwood where he totaled 37 points in 61 games.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“I watched him and scouted him when I was in Toronto and he’s a player that caught my eye. He has lightning-fast speed. He’s going to be first to the puck on 95 per cent of his forechecks. He’s a big boy, but he’s a little raw. He’s going to need a little bit of time, but having the older guys we have coming back is going to benefit Elijah for sure.”

Alec Scouras (2002, F)

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

Scouras spent the last three seasons in the West Van Academy program and enjoyed a breakout campaign last year when he notched 58 points in 33 games.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“I was watching the championship week of the CSSHL and I really wanted to watch him. He was playing with [highly-touted prospect] Connor Bedard. Sometimes you get lost just watching Connor, but I was impressed watching Alec. He was the guy doing all the greasy corner work, playing the 200-foot game and supporting his teammates really well. He’s going to be a guy that will come in right away and have some success.”

Maxwell Dukovac (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Aurora, Ill.
  • Previous team: Chicago Mission U18 (HPHL U18)

Dukovac was Chicago’s leading scorer last year with with 21 points in 14 games. His 10 goals were also tops on the team.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“I watched him in Calgary when I was at the Mac’s Tournament over Christmas. I really liked his game. There’s a few other guys on his team that are playing in the league this year, but the beauty of Max is that he’s a dual citizen and didn’t cost us an import spot. He’s a guy that will be a natural goal scorer. He’s got a real knack for the net and a heavy shot.”

Brody Waters (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Heidelberg, Ont.
  • Previous team: Elmira Sugar Kings (GOJHL)

Waters played Junior B last year with Elmira and put up impressive numbers. He finished his season with 47 points in 46 games.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“He’s going to be a goal scorer for us. He’s a big, strong boy who competes hard and has a knack for the net. He’s another one who will come in and be a top-nine guy right away. He’s a really good player.”

Acquired via trade:

Michael Palandra (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Markham, Ont.
  • Previous team: Brantford 99ers (OJHL)
  • College commitment: Rochester Institute of Technology (2021-22)

Palandra played the last two years in the OJHL, first with the Aurora Tigers and last season with Brantford. He has 53 points in 100 career OJHL games.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“Palandra is a high-end defenceman. He was highly sought after. Myself and Colin put together a team last summer that went to the Chowder Cup in Boston and won it and he was on that team. He was a guy that we had some interest in last year, but it was a little too late in the ballgame. This year, when he said he wanted to play out our way, I jumped at the opportunity to bring him in. He’s a legitimate top-four guy.”

Colton Kitchen (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Prince George, B.C.
  • Previous team: Victoria Grizzlies

Kitchen played most of last season split between the Grizzlies and the Penticton Vees. He also played in one game for the Clippers early in the season. He registered six points in 37 BCHL contests last year.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“I was really impressed with him in Victoria. There was a stretch there where we played them four straight games and, every time we played them, Colton just looked better and better. He’s familiar with the system and knows the culture, so he’ll come in and know what to expect.”

Tyler Schleppe (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.
  • Previous team: Coquitlam Express

Schleppe had nine points in 51 games with the regular-season champion Express last year.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“Schleppe is a guy that we’re familiar with from his Burnaby Winter Club days. He’s played most of his career with a guy we have in Sean Donaldson. I watched those guys play and noticed the chemistry they had in the U18 program and it was pretty special. I’ve had him out for a couple skates already and you can still see the chemistry between them. He’s a big centreman that fits the mold of what we like.”

Kabir Gill (2000, D)

  • Hometown: White Rock, B.C.
  • Previous team: Weyburn Red Wings (SJHL)

Gill was traded from the Coquitlam Express to Weyburn during the season last year. The 19-year-old had three points in 17 games with the Express and added another six in 21 contests with Weyburn.

Naylor’s scouting report:

“We really wanted to find a partner for our 2003-born defenceman Jack O’Brien. We wanted to go out and get a right-handed defenceman with some experience, so maybe this year Jack could show a bit more offensively. Kabir will be that stay-at-home guy that makes the nice first pass every time. He’s about 6-foot-5 and he’s going to take care of business in our own end and clear the front of the net.”

Photo credits: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images (Rose, Dukovac, Palandra), Two Point Photography (Daniells), Garrett James Photography (Murdock, Kitchen, Schleppe, Gill)