The Tri-City Americans added another player to the fold Wednesday, bringing in rugged forward Devon McAndrews.
“He’s a guy I identified over a year ago who I thought would help our team,” said Tri-City general manager Bob Tory. “The fact he is coming now is good news for us. We are in a transition with our team. The ability to add a new player gives us depth and options to look at things in the future. Obviously we can’t carry 16 forwards when everyone is healthy, so it puts pressure on the players here to perform.”
The Americans acquired McAndrews’ rights from Medicine Hat last October in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2014 WHL bantam draft.
McAndrews, from Edmonton, Alberta, chose to play for the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League last year instead of making the move to the WHL.
“I like his potential,” Tory said. “I respected his family in taking the time to think about things. He was in his Grade 12 year (last year) and I think that was important to his parents that he got that out of the way.”
After playing 15 games with the Saints this season, McAndrews, 18, decided to make the leap.
“Bob had been asking me for awhile to come down,” McAndrews said. “I was in a good spot back home, but things have changed. I’m ready to play here. This is where I want to be. I’m excited to play. I just want to get in the lineup. It’s a faster pace than what I’m used to. It should be fun.”
At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, McAndrews brings size to a lineup that is relatively small.
He can thank his dad, Stewart, for his athletic stature and ability. Stewart played linebacker at the University of Alberta and one season with the Edmonton Eskimos (1983).
“He come from good stock,” Tory said. “He is excited about the opportunity to take his game to a new level. With his size, he is a good skater for a big man. With a little bit of experience and once he gets used to things here, I think he will be a big addition to our team.”
McAndrews had two assists and 27 penalty minutes in his time with the Saints this year. He hopes to contribute right away for the Americans.
“I’m a physical forward,” he said. “I’m not afraid to drop the gloves, but I want to create space for players out there and hopefully bring an offensive touch. I’m a big body presence. I can play the power play and penalty kill. I probably can’t step in there on the penalty kill right away, but I look forward to that when I can.”
McAndrews will play this weekend when the Americans host Seattle and Brandon. He will fit right in with the young corps of players on the roster.
“There is progress, along with the growing pains,” Tory said. “I think you are starting to see some of the positives the more we go on. The emergence of Evan Sarthou, Rodney Southam, Branden Purtill and Ty Comrie, for example. We haven’t seen a lot of (Taylor) Vickerman yet. The young kids are getting their feet wet and are starting to contribute. Once they do that, it will make the team better.”
Note: The Spokane Chiefs (10-3-0-0) held on to their No. 3 ranking in this week’s CHL Top 10 rankings. The Medicine Hat Tigers (7-2-2-0) dropped from fifth to sixth, while the Seattle Thunderbirds (9-3-0-1) dropped from sixth to eighth. The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (11-1-1-0) remained at the top.