September 19, 2023 – Western Hockey League (WHL) – Moose Jaw Warriors News Release
After reaching the Second Round of the WHL Playoffs in each of the past two seasons, the Moose Jaw Warriors have their sights set on bigger and better things during the 2023-24 WHL season. Armed with a pair of first-round NHL Draft selections, the Warriors are sure to bring high-octane hockey to the Friendly City this winter ahead of what the entire organization hopes is a lengthy post-season run next spring.
Moose Jaw has its Big Three ready and willing to be leaders once again this season; the trio of Jagger Firkus, Denton Mateychuk and Brayden Yager are all NHL prospects, and all three possess game-breaking ability. Mateychuk returns as captain after totalling 65 points in Warrior silks last season, while Firkus, a second-round pick of the Seattle Kraken in 2022, has led the team in scoring in each of the past two seasons and along with 20-year-old Atley Calvert, is one of two returning Moose Jaw forwards to have recorded 40 goals in 2022-23. Yager, selected 14th-overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in last June’s NHL Draft, put up 78 points, 50 of which were assists, last season.
Who’s In And Out
The Warriors added depth via trade from the Vancouver Giants in the form of forward Ethan Semeniuk, who scored 12 goals as a 17-year-old skater on the West Coast last season. Forward Andrej Tomasec is one of two new import players in Moose Jaw; he was selected in the first round of the 2023 CHL Import Draft, while defenceman Connor Schmidt enters his 16-year-old season with an eye on making the jump full-time to the WHL after being selected in the first round of the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft. Forward Ryder Korczak returns to professional hockey this fall in the New York Rangers organization; he is the only one of Moose Jaw’s top six scorers from the 2022-23 season not to return to the Friendly City this fall.
NHL Draft Prospects
Moose Jaw has seen at least one player from the roster selected in the NHL Draft since 2016, and the opportunity exists for their 2024 NHL Draft class to earn bigger roles in this season’s lineup. Forward Ethan Hughes, a fourth-round pick by Moose Jaw in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft, scored one goal in six games as a call-up a season ago; he put up 32 points at the U18 level in Alberta last winter. His teammate with the Edmonton Junior Oilers, Brady Ness, got into 15 games as a 16-year-old with Moose Jaw last season while forward Owen Berge is also looking to make the jump from the CSSHL to the WHL this coming season.
WARRIORS BY THE NUMBERS (2022-23):
Team Record: 41-24-0-3 (85 points)
Division Ranking: 3rd, East
2023 WHL Playoffs: lost Second Round (Winnipeg)
Goals For: 252 (8th)
Goals Against: 237 (10th)
PP (Overall): 27.6% (3rd)
PK (Overall): 80.4% (7th)
Leading Scorers: Firkus (40-48-88), Yager (28-50-78), Calvert (40-33-73)
Leading Rookie: Riche (8-10-18)
NHL Draft: Firkus (SEA – 2022), Mateychuk (CBJ – 2022), Rysavy (CBJ – 2021), Yager (PIT – 2023)
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