Adam Tambellini is entering a nearly identical situation as he was last season.
Then, he was a member of the Vernon Vipers and traded at the BCHL trade deadline to the Surrey Eagles, who were gearing up for a championship run. He won the BCHL title.
This year, the 19-year-old forward decided to leave the University of North Dakota Sioux after half a season, and is now a proud member of the Calgary Hitmen, and he’s looking to do the same thing.
“It does feel like last year, joining a new team at the deadline,” said Tambellini, a few hours before he would make his Hitmen debut versus the Saskatoon Blades. “I was obviously lucky to go with Surrey all the way to the RBC Cup, which was a great experience for myself.
“Hopefully we can do the same thing with Calgary and try to get to the Memorial Cup.”
Tambellini was on the Portland Winterhawks protected list, but his rights were dealt to the Hitmen in exchange for a first round draft pick on Wednesday morning.
Over the holidays when Tambellini was debating his hockey future with his family, he liked the possibility of playing with the Hitmen because of the right level of comfortability with the organization.
“Things were moving a little slow (in North Dakota),” said the New York Rangers prospect. “We thought the right decision was to play more games, and the ability to come to an organization like Calgary is truly exciting.
“I kind of singled out Calgary as the one place I wanted to come to. With the level of comfortability and a really strong team, I thought I’d fit in well here and hopefully can get to the Memorial Cup with the Hitmen.”
He’s friends with a number of players on the squad, including Greg Chase who Tambellini considers a great friend.
While he’s never played competitive hockey with his Chase, Tambellini likes the possibility of teaming up with Calgary’s leading scorer.
“It’s up to the coaches to decide, but I think it would be no problem if him and I played on the same line,” Tambellini said.
“He’s a really great player with a heavy shot. If I ever get the chance to play with him, hopefully we can do good things.”
Tambellini, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, began the 2013-14 season with the University of North Dakota, recording four points (two goals, two assists) over 16 games as a freshman. The 6-3, 185-pound forward was selected by the New York Rangers in the third round, 65th overall, in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Tambellini played two seasons with Surrey and Vernon of the BCHL (2011-13), where he recorded 63 goals and 58 assists for 121 points over 107 games played.
He’s the second high profile acquisition made by General Manager Mike Moore recently, who also added forward Mike Winther on Dec. 28.
“We are very excited to add a top forward to our group,” said Moore. “Adam possesses size, skating and a scoring touch that will add terrific depth to our lineup. It is not easy to give up a first round draft pick, however when you acquire a talent like Adam we felt the price was warranted.”