BCJALL Season Preview: Burnaby Lakers
2018 RECORD: 2-18-1
2018 GOAL DIFFERENTIAL: -90
PROJECTED 2019 RECORD: 3-18, 8th Place
There has to be a sense of optimism in the Swamp after a few seasons middling at the bottom of the standings. The Lakers have gotten a major overhaul, with an emphasis on getting younger and more athletic. As mentioned, Heard takes over the A club after assisting at the B1 level last season, but he does have his work cut out for him. Burnaby ranked dead last in goals scored and were second-last in goal differential at -90.
It won’t be easy to dig out of the doghouse given that there really aren’t any teams you can see struggling to put wins together, but they are trending in the right direction. Youth movement means there will be mistakes, but the payoff, in the long run, will be that much better.
The Lakers drafted Sam La Roue out of Semiahmoo with the first overall pick in the 2018 BCJALL Entry Draft. La Roue said at the draft that while he will be asked to be a defensive force, he can chip in offensively as well. The transition hasn’t been one of the Lakers’ strong points in the past, but he can help jump-start that, making them less reliant on scoring in their set offence. Clearly, the team sees La Roue as a building block of the club, so expect him to make an immediate impact. Look for another recent acquisition, Brandon Goff, as well as Sam’s brother Francis, to continue to push the pace from D to O. Russ’ son Ryan will be another potential weapon coming out of the back gate.
Joining Heard on the bench are Tyler Kirkby and Chris Levis. Levis will be tasked with improving the production between the pipes, and he’ll have some new assets to work with. Burnaby moved on from Tyler Pongrancz for Diesel De Guzman. He could form a tandem with Matteo Tack, who showed promise in spot duty.
It may be a tough run for the Lakers to start the season, but there is no reason the team can’t improve on the two wins they had in 2018. It’s an opportunity to show the league how far they’ve come while still developing as a club.