Hitmen armed and loaded

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

Kelly Kisio has pulled off some lopsided trades during his time with the Calgary Hitmen.

But the 11th-year GM might have outdone himself at last January's trade deadline.

Kisio, who was eventually selected as the WHL's top executive, was the envy of the league when he was able to get the circuit's top sniper, Joel Broda, from the Moose Jaw Warriors.

It was a rental, sure. But just getting the 53-goal triggerman for the playoff push was a huge move.

Now, seven months later, the Hitmen are dreaming about possibly having the overage forward back for a full season.

Not even Kisio thought it possible.

"With the goals he had put up, we hoped he would continue to do that for us," Kisio said. "And then, the next season, you fly by the seat of your pants."

Broda did exactly what was expected of him, leading the team with 24 points in the post-season.

But the Washington Capitals, who selected Broda in the fifth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, have yet to sign the young prospect.

"I've talked to (the Capitals' management)," Kisio said. "They think he's a very good prospect, but their farm team is very solid. They won the American League last year, so they're very deep.

"I think a lot of where he ends up has to do with what kind of training camp he has with Washington."

Kisio and new coach Mike Williamson can only sit and wait -- and perhaps drool -- at the thought of what could be.

How about a line of 100-plus-point man Brandon Kozun, Eastern Conference Final MVP Kris Foucault and ... Broda?

"That would be Willy's call," Kisio said of his bench boss' line combinations. "But yeah, that would be a dangerous line."

Apart from Broda, there's plenty of other players Kisio is eager to see take the ice when training camp kicks off this week.

"There's a few guys who I want to see what they did over the summer," Kisio said. "(Tyler) Fiddler, (Chase) Schaber up front and (Eric) Bonsor, (Matt) Mackenzie and (Austin) Madaisky on the back end. I want to see how much work they did over the summer and how they've progressed."

With the likes of WHL MVP Brett Sonne moving on to the pro ranks and co-captain Kyle Bortis graduating, there is definitely an offensive void to be filled.

And while a little-used sophomore can't be expected to fill those massive skates, MacKenzie Royer might be that guy down the line.

Kisio said the opportunity is there for the talented forward, if he wants it.

"It's up to him," Kisio said. "As a 16-year-old, you get your ice-time in spots. But he's as skilled as anyone in our lineup. He'll slot himself by whatever work he's done over the summer and what he does at training camp."

The club's rookie camp opens today with freshmen reporting for fitness testing.

About 80 youngsters will compete at the Don Hartman N.E. Sportsplex to advance to main camp, starting Saturday.

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LINING 'EM UP

A guide to training camp at Don Hartman Sportsplex

THEY'RE GONE

- Overagers Kyle Bortis, Carson McMillan and Keith Seabrook have graduated.

- WHL MVP C Brett Sonne (St. Louis), Eastern Conference defenceman of the year Paul Postma (Atlanta) and D Alex Plante (Edmonton) are all expected to turn pro.

- European imports Bostjan Golicic and Tomas Karpov are also not returning.

KEY FACES

- G Martin Jones (Los Angeles) returns after a record-breaking 45-win campaign.

- LW Kris Foucault (Minnesota) ripped it up after being acquired at the WHL trade deadline.

- RW Brandon Kozun (Los Angeles) topped 100 points last season.

- D Michael Stone (Phoenix) is the unquestioned leader of the blueline.

CAMP BATTLES

- G Michael Snider will look to hang onto the backup role behind Jones but will be tested by Chase Komistek.

- Forward Cody Beach, who is 6-foot-4, will look to stick after a brief look as a 16-year-old early last season.

- D Peter Kosterman, who played with the Calgary Buffaloes last season, should be a lock as the club's top bantam pick in '08.


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