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Fizer’s situation with Avs complicates season for Royals

Victoria Royals captain Tarun Fizer was overlooked in the NHL draft, so his unexpected ­consequential run through ­ ­Colorado Avalanche training camp as a free agent has surprised many people.
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Tarun Fizer remains in the AHL camp of the Colorado Eagles. Credit: Allen Douglas Photos

Victoria Royals captain Tarun Fizer was overlooked in the NHL draft, so his unexpected ­consequential run through ­ ­Colorado Avalanche training camp as a free agent has surprised many people.

But those who have seen him mature on Blanshard Street saw a pro-type game emerge and one that is now paying dividends for him as the 20-year-old has been assigned by the Avalanche to their AHL affiliate Colorado Eagles.

That’s good for Fizer ­personally but not so good for the Royals. It has left Victoria scrambling to replace their leader, at least for the early going of the Western Hockey League season. Fizer is not signed to a pro contract and remains on an amateur tryout agreement, which means a return to junior and the Royals is still possible.

“We are very proud of him, and he has done very well down there, and the Avalanche really like Tarun and want a longer period of time in which to evaluate him in the pros,” said Royals head coach and GM Dan Price.

“He will be given a decent amount of runway and a decent amount of time in the AHL. So we have to prepare right now without him.”

That is compounded in that Anaheim Ducks NHL first-round draft pick Brayden Tracey, 20, is signed to a pro contract and is with the San Diego Gulls of the AHL and unlikely to return to junior and the Royals.

It is not as if the youthful Royals are a team with a lot of veteran forwards to begin with. That necessitated a trade Thursday by Victoria for 20-year-old centre Evan Patrician from the Saskatoon Blades for a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2022 WHL bantam draft.

That follows the Royals’ acquisition last week of 20-year-old winger Bailey Peach from Falmouth, N.S., who had 40 goals and 107 points in 184 games through four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Sherbrooke Phoenix and Charlottetown Islanders. Peach had six penalty minutes in his debut with the Royals in the season-opening 5-0 loss last weekend to the ­Vancouver Giants.

“He was being aggressive and had pushback in that situation and I like that,” said Price.

The 6-foot-3 Calgary-native Patrician, meanwhile, knows the Memorial Centre from his two season with the Giants before two with the Blades. He has nine goals and 29 points in 137 career WHL games and will be in the line-up tonight when the Royals host the Kelowna Rockets in the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

“[Patrician] is a classic, two-way, 200-foot centre,” said Price.

“He is a natural centre and great in the face-off circle and also reliable on defence.”

The Royals meet the Kelowna Rockets tonight and Saturday at the Memorial Centre.

“Our young players have shown maturity but are still learning,” said Price.

“It’s a matter of correcting the errors from the Vancouver game. We’ve been better in practice all week and that’s what you look for.”

These two games on the Island will be the season openers for the Rockets.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com