Two forwards will join the Nelson Leafs as they prepare for the final stretch of the regular season.
Nelson signed Brandon Costa and Aiden Jenner on Friday ahead of the KIJHL’s trade deadline. Leafs general manager Lance Morey said both players give the team scoring depth and insurance against injuries that have become common for Nelson in the post-season.
“We wanted to make sure in this case we were adding high-end players who were going to be able to add to our dynamics and our offence, play special teams, but also that just give us some very solid depth,” said Morey.
“We believe we have a lineup that we can get scoring from all four lines.”
Nelson players will already be familiar with their new teammates.
Jenner had a five-game cup of coffee with the Leafs during the 2016-17 season before joining the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in 2017-18, with whom he scored 13 goals and 12 assists in 40 games.
Last season Jenner, 20, moved up to Junior A with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and had six goals and 14 assists in 51 games.
Morey said Jenner worked for Leafs head coach Mario DiBella in the off-season and is currently attending Selkirk College. Because he was unsigned as of Dec. 1, the Leafs were able to pick him up for nothing.
“We thought holy cow, we just signed a player who in many ways will be the best player in the KI for the rest of the year,” said Morey.
Costa meanwhile played 72 games with the Castlegar Rebels over parts of three seasons and spent the majority of last season with the St. Stephen County Aces of the Maritime Junior Hockey League where he scored 13 goals and eight assists in 42 games.
Morey said Costa suffered an injury during training camp and the County Aces were relocated, which meant he was also free to sign with the Leafs.
“Right away it’s like adding a top three or four forward and everyone kind of moves down the line one,” said Morey. “I don’t think you can ever have too much scoring.”