The Nanaimo Clippers are hosting a championship tournament this season, so they can’t be a patient team.
That’s why they recently made a move to acquire a scoring forward who they think can help them right away.
Right winger Matt Grant joined the Clippers two weeks ago after being traded from the Cowichan Valley Capitals in a deal that sent Luke Gordon and Jesse Neher the other way. The trade wasn’t necessarily a surprise to the 19-year-old Grant.
“You’ve got to suspect it. The team wasn’t doing real good and so they were moving the older guys around,” he said. “It’s nice to get traded to a place like Nanaimo, with a good group of guys.”
Nanaimo isn’t far from home for Grant, who is from Ladysmith and played minor hockey in Duncan.
“So that wasn’t that big of an adjustment, but team-wise, it’s a different coaching style,” he said. “But it’s been fun so far. If you don’t know the systems, just keep it simple and don’t try and over-think things.”
Grant, who is 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, has scored 22 points in 22 games this season. Mike Vandekamp, Clippers general manager, said the newcomer has a desire to get better and succeed.
“I told him from the beginning that we don’t expect overnight miracles from him or anything,” Vandekamp said. “Just go out and play hard and do the best that you can and take some time to find your way and get comfortable.”
Grant played with a couple of different sets of linemates Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, picking up an assist in a 4-3 loss to Powell River Dec. 1.
“I’ll try to find some chemistry with whoever I’m playing with and capitalize on my opportunities …” he said. “I’ve got to work for everything I’m going to get. Hopefully I’m going to be a top-six guy and put up some points here in Nanaimo.”
Grant said he considers himself a two-way forward, but he knows that when the puck is in the attacking zone, he’ll be relied upon.
He’ll look to pounce on that puck and also seize the opportunity of joining a team that’s bound for the Western Canada Cup in the spring.
“It’s a ways away, you can’t look too far ahead,” he said. “But it’s a big event, and any team that’s hosting it, it’s something to look forward to.”