The Trail Smoke Eaters got better, bigger, and tougher on Sunday.
Trail signed 20-year-old Carson Brière from the NCAA ranks and rugged defender Kyle Pow, 19, from the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League at the Dec. 1 roster deadline.
Following Trail’s 3-2 loss to the Surrey Eagles on Saturday, coach and GM Jeff Tambellini told the Times that the team still lacked a couple integral pieces.
“There might be a little bit of movement this week to add some players close to the Dec. 1 deadline,” said Tambellini. “We have to get tougher and we need a player to play on our top six. Those are probably the first two priorities, so we’ll see what we can get done here. We like our group but we can still get better.”
Brière finished second in scoring in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) last year, tallying 44 goals and 89 points for the Johnstown Tomahawks, and attended the Philadelphia Flyers development camp in June.
The son of NHL legend Daniel Brière brings plenty of offensive upside to the Smoke Eaters.
“Carson Brière is a very important addition to our hockey club,” said Tambellini in a release. “Carson is a dynamic scorer coming off an MVP season in the NAHL and has been at the NCAA level all season. We believe he will compliment our top-six forwards and add another threat to our power play.”
Brière, a Haddonfield, N.J. native, tallied 115 points in 102 games in the NAHL and was named the 2019 NAHL East Forward of the Year and MVP, and made the All-East Division Team and All-NAHL Team.
In the Pow deal, the Smokies sent forward Colby Elmer back home to the West Kelowna Warriors in a three-way deal that brought the six-foot-six, 225-pound defenceman to Trail. The 18-year-old Elmer notched three goals and nine points in 23 games for the Smoke Eaters this season.
Pow, a Nanaimo product, played 38 games with the WHL Kelowna Rockets registering three assists and 51 penalty minutes in 2018-19, and in 17 games with the Oil Barons, tallied three points and 95 pims this season.
“The addition of Kyle Pow to our lineup provides us the heaviness we’ve been looking for,” added Tambellini. “Kyle has a versatile skill set that allows him to play both forward and defence. We’ve had teams targeting our top players in the past month and the presence of Kyle Pow on the ice will address these issues.”
Briere and Pow are expected to join the team this week as the Smoke Eaters prepare for their biggest test of the season against the league-leading Coquitlam Express on Friday night.