The last two seasons for the Edmonton Rush has been something for the fans in Edmonton to talk about. In 2012 they came within thirty minutes of winning the Champions Cup, and last season they go 7-1 on the road, but get eliminated in round one.
We now look ahead to 2014 for the Rush. Mark Matthews enters his second year after capturing Rookie of the Year for 2013. But this season they will have to go without the services of their third leading scorer from 2013. Corey Small who suffered a knee injury in the WLA Championships will be lost for the entire season. There is a slim chance he could return for the playoffs. So the question is, who will replace Corey Small? Small registered 28 goals and 36 assists in 2013 and obviously left some big shoes to fill.
The Rush will look to the two players drafted this past September. Robert Church from Drexel/Coquitlam. Some scouts have said Church is a reincarnation of Josh Sanderson, and might be the best right handed shooter in the draft. The Coquitlam native scored 39 points in 9 games last season with the junior Adanacs, 25 of them assists.
Riley Loewen from Limestone/Maple Ridge will be the other young draft choice that will be looked at to fill the shoes of Small. He picked up 33 points in 13 games in 2012 and 45 points the season before with the WLA Burrards, scouts and experts out west peg Loewen as a player to watch in this draft.
But the main load will fall on the veterans. 2013 point leader Ryan Ward (21/54), Mark Matthews (38/31), Zack Greer (28/25) and Curtis Knight (19/27). Turner, Davis and Conway will obviously have to pick up their numbers.
The offense isn’t the only area that will need to pick up the slack with the loss of Small. The defense will obviously need to tighten up even more as trying to compensate for the offensive production loss of Small will be a task. Aaron Bold with a 10.56 GAA will have to be on point again. Now with the recent retirement announcement of captain Jimmy Quinlan earlier this week, Kyle Rubisch, Brett Mydske, John Lintz and company will also have big shoes to fill on defense.
If we learned anything in the last two seasons from Edmonton, no task is too big to accomplish.