By Aedan Helmer, Ottawa Sun
After the first day of scrimmages at 67’s camp, the team’s braintrust has some big decisions to make.
Big — as in, 6-foot-4, 200-lbs. — answers to the name “Big Mike.”
Michal Cajkovsky, the bruising 20-year-old defenceman, has returned to the club from his home in Slovakia, creating a numbers crunch for Chris Byrne and crew.
Byrne expected the overage Cajkovsky to sign in Europe, and traded up to select a pair of Slovakian wingers, Ladislav Zikmund and Richard Mraz, in the first round of the CHL import draft.
With only two import spots available, Byrne will have to make a decision before filing the team’s final roster to the league.
“Mike knew coming in that we have two players already in those import spots that we’ve committed to, so he knows that the chances are that he may be traded, but he’s happy knowing he’ll play in our league somewhere, or he may play here,” said Byrne.
Once the defence is settled, Byrne will turn his attention to finding a pair of wingers for Sean Monahan, Steven Janes, 19, made a strong case to inherit Tyler Toffoli’s old post with a hat trick and a scrap in the morning scrimmage.
“I just wanted to get things going off the bat here and show the rookies and the new guys that it doesn’t matter what you’ve done (in the past), you still have to work for a spot. It’ll be tough to lose those (graduated veterans), but it just makes the young guys step up, and for me I have to step up and be a leader on this team and hopefully fill their shoes,” said Janes, who fought rookie defenceman Jonathan Duchesne.
“That’s the way hockey goes. Emotions are going and if you play hard, things like that happen.”