A pair of former Kootenay Ice stars went unsigned Wednesday, as the deadline passed for National Hockey League clubs to ink players selected at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Jaedon Descheneau, a fifth-round pick (124th) by the St. Louis Blues, and Tanner Faith, a fifth-round pick (139th) of the Minnesota Wild, saw Wednesday’s deadline expire without respective three-year, entry-level contracts presented.
Corey Pronman, ESPN NHL Insider, reported the Blues decision on Descheneau via Twitter, while Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star Tribune, reported the Wild’s decision regarding Faith.
Descheneau remained property of the Kootenay Ice through the 2015-16 WHL campaign, but only suited up for two games after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in November. He was then placed on the long-term injury list and was unable to return to action.
The 21-year-old native of Edmonton was a third-round pick (62nd) of the Ice at the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft before going on to an electric career in Cranbrook. Over 265 career regular season games, the 5-foot-9 spitfire tallied 111 goals and 272 points, adding 15 goals and 31 points through 29 post-season outings.
Descheneau’s time with the Ice peaked during the 2013-14 campaign in which he registered 44 goals and 98 points in 70 games, earning a place on the WHL’s Second All-Star team.
Faith was dealt from the Ice to the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for a fourth-round pick (2016) on Sept. 23, 2015, as the team faced an overage crunch at the conclusion of training camp.
The 20-year-old native of Wilcox, Sask., was a second-round selection (33rd) of the Ice at the talent-rich 2010 WHL Bantam Draft. Shoulder injuries dampened the impact Faith had during his three full seasons in Cranbrook as he was only able to suit up in 89 regular season games with the club.
Faith had a resurgence upon landing in Moose Jaw, remaining healthy for 59 regular season games and stacking up 24 points.
Unfortunately, injuries once again derailed the 6-foot-4, 218-pound defenceman late in the campaign. Faith’s last game with the Warriors came Feb. 19 and he was unable to return in time for the team’s WHL post-season efforts.
Both Descheneau and Faith become free agents and can by signed by any professional team expressing interest.
NHL draft eligibility rules dictate any North American player under the age of 20 as of Dec. 31 of the draft year is eligible to be selected. Any player undrafted by age 20 becomes an unrestricted free agent.
WHL News & Notes: Some familiar names signed professional contracts Wednesday, including former Seattle Thunderbirds and Swift Current Broncos goaltender Landon Bow (Texas Stars, AHL), former Edmonton Oil Kings captain Brandon Baddock (New Jersey Devils, NHL) and Red Deer Rebels defenceman Nelson Nogier (Winnipeg Jets, NHL)… A notable name that did not sign his NHL entry-level contract is Red Deer Rebels forward Conner Bleackley. A first-round pick (23rd, 2014) of the Colorado Avalanche, Bleackley had his rights traded to the Arizona Coyotes in February. He is eligible to re-enter the NHL Entry Draft after posting 13 goals and 46 points in 55 games with the Rebels this past season… In addition to not signing Faith, the Wild opted not to ink Brandon Wheat Kings forward Reid Duke, a sixth-round pick (169th)…