Looking to the future

By Tony Saxon, Guelph Mercury – While some may find subject matter a little distasteful given the timing, the rebuild of the Guelph Storm has officially begun.

Last week Storm general manager Mike Kelly signed 18-year-old centre Patrick Watling and winger Justin Auger. He has now set his sights on getting Gloucester Rangers defenceman Zac Leslie’s name on a contract.

“No question,” Kelly said when asked whether the rebuild had started. “We’ve got a plan, not just next season, but for the next two or three seasons as to where we want to be.”

Watling is a late birthdate who was drafted a couple of years ago in the 10th round. The Sault Ste. Marie native blossomed both as a player and physically, putting five inches and 20 pounds onto his frame the past couple of years.

He had a 25-goal, 50-assist campaign with the Jr. B Chatham Maroons this season and did not look out of place at all in his Storm debut Wednesday against the Kitchener Rangers.

Auger is a big one: 6-foot-5, 200 pounds right now and still growing. A 22-goal year in 42 goals with the Jr. B Waterloo Siskins leads one to think he has a scoring touch. Kelly sure does, pegging him as a potential 40-goal scorer down the line.

Leslie, who stands six feet tall and weights 175 pounds, has not yet signed with the Storm, but Kelly said negotiations are “very much ongoing” but “not a slam dunk.”


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