Reinforcements are on the way for the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Only a day after high-scoring forward Jagger Firkus was returned to the Western Hockey League team by the Seattle Kraken, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that 2023 first-round pick Brayden Yager will be returning to Moose Jaw this week.
Firkus is expected to be in the lineup against the Regina Pats on Wednesday night in the first meeting of the Trans Canada Clash, with Yager to join the team in time for Friday’s re-match with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Their arrival is timely after the Warriors struggled on opening weekend, dropping a 4-0 decision to Brandon to open the campaign before falling 9-4 in their home opener.
Firkus -- Seattle’s second-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft -- played in the Kraken’s split-squad pre-season game in Seattle on Monday but was held without a point, recording three shots on goal.
Firkus’ return comes after an outstanding showing in the Warriors’ pre-season, where he looked dominant during scrimmages before putting up six points in his lone WHL exhibition game, a 7-4 win over the Swift Current Bronco in Assiniboia.
Yager -- Pittsburgh’s first-round pick, 14th overall in the 2023 NHL Draft -- didn’t see action in the Warriors’ pre-season but looked sharp in scrimmages and that carried over into the Penguins rookie camp and exhibition schedule.
Yager saw action in two NHL pre-season games and had a major impact in his first outing, scoring the shootout winner in Pittsburgh’s 4-3 split-squad victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. He kept it basic on his game-winner, breaking down the left wing before beating Jackets netminder Aaron Dell with a shot low blocker side.
Yager also had two shots on net in regulation and then had a single shot on goal in his final NHL exhibition game, a 4-3 loss to Detroit on Tuesday night.
If not for the split-squad game, Yager would have seen a couple of familiar faces in the Columbus line-up -- none other than Warriors captain Denton Mateychuk and overager Martin Rysavy.
That duo were in Columbus playing the Penguins, and both hit the scoresheet in the Blue Jackets’ 4-3 overtime win. Mateychuk assisted on Jordan Dumais’ winner, while Rysavy had the lone helper on Carson Meyer’s go-ahead goal in the first period.
Mateychuk also had an assist on Tuesday night as Columbus dropped a 3-2 decision to St. Louis.
Overage defenceman Max Wanner is in the Edmonton Oilers’ preseason and was held off the scoreboard in a 5-0 split squad loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night.
The Warriors are in Regina for the first time Wednesday night before looking for a measure of revenge when Brandon returns to the Moose Jaw Events Centre on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.