VICTORIA — The newest member of the Victoria Royals will be looking to continue his recent surge when the Royals kick off their six game road trip tonight against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Tracey, who was acquired by the Royals on January 9th ahead of the WHL’s trade deadline, has registered at least a point in six out of seven games since joining his new club.
The blockbuster trade saw the 18-year-old playmaker along with goalie Adam Evanoff and a pair of draft picks acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for Logan Doust, Nolan Jones, goaltender Brock Gould and picks, and since his arrival he has seven points in his last six games.
A first round pick of the Anaheim Ducks, Tracey says his first impressions of the southern island have been more than positive.
“It’s beautiful here, it’s one of the greatest places to play in the league.” said Tracey. “Whether it’s the big bodies of water, or downtown, I think everything’s really unique and I think I’ll really get along well here.”
While the price in giving up a goalie who is ranked fourth among all North American goaltenders ahead of the 2020 NHL draft, the return package of Tracey and Evanoff provides a boost to the Royals top six, as well as a solid backup to Shane Farkas.
Tracey — who has 47 points in just 34 games heading into Friday night’s clash with Brandon — says that since he arrived in Victoria a little over a week ago the transition has been a smooth one.
“I think it’s just a fresh start for me,” said the Calgary native. “My linemates, the coaching staff, and the organization have all helped me play my game.”
Tracey also made mention of his prior friendship with Royals’ second leading-scorer Gary Haden, as the two Alberta natives are off season training partners. He says Haden has been instrumental in welcoming him to the team.
“Knowing him coming in has helped me in a lot of ways.” said Tracey. “Having that trust in each other has showed on the ice, we move the puck well and both have an offensive mindset.”
Tonight’s opponents — the Brandon Wheat Kings — are currently third in the WHL’s East Division and will be looking for their season-high tenth straight victory tonight when they host the Royals. Tracey, who’s very familiar with the WHL East, says he expects a tough match-up against the red-hot Wheat Kings.
“I think if we can shut them down defensively and capitalize on our scoring chances we’ll do well against them,” said the 2019 NHL first round draft pick. “With us going in there we have to know they’re going to be hot, so we need to get a quick start.”
The Royals’ eastern swing — which will see them travel over 5,500 miles over thirteen days — will conclude on February 1st against Brayden Tracey’s former team, the Moose Jaw Warriors. He says it’ll be a special game for him and goaltender Adam Evanoff.
“It’s going to be cool to us, but obviously we’re focused on the Royals and how we can help the team.”
The Royals enter tonight’s road match-up coming off back-to-back losses to the Vancouver Giants, a team they’ll need to fend off down the stretch if they want to make a push for a division crown. However, the 2001-born forward doesn’t feel his team will have a hard time bouncing back in the first of their six game road trip.
“I think if we clean up those little mistakes — whether it be taking a shift off or not working to our full potential — then we’ll have a better outcome.”
Tonight’s puck drop is scheduled for 5:30 at Westoba Place.