I received word from a source in Spokane last night indicating former Smokies forward Dylan Tappe could well be on his way back to the KIJHL.
That seems to indeed be the case, since as of this morning Tappe's name appears on the Spokane Braves' active roster.
The 19 year-old put up 103 points in 96 games as a 16 and 17 year-old with the Braves, and was positively deadly in a playoff series against the Castlegar Rebels in 2010, notably a Game 5 hat-trick away from home that included a short-handed breakaway goal on then-Rebels goaltender Andrew Walton.
Tappe spent last season as a BCHL rookie with Trail (though he did AP with the Westside Warriors in 2009-10), scoring 17 points (5-12). He made 11 appearances with the Prince George Spruce Kings this season, scoring once and adding an assist.
Tappe could well make his return to the Braves Saturday when they host the Rebels. If so, I'm sure he'll be a welcome addition to Mike Bay's young squad, (who sit fourth in the Neil Murdoch division with an 8-13-1-0 record), and should be able to provide some real scoring punch alongside the likes of another former Smokie Uriah Machuga, Mitch Fowler and Nick Farmer. Only three Kootenay Conference teams (Golden, Columbia Valley and Grand Forks) have scored fewer goals than the Braves' tally of 81 to this point in the season. Considering Tappe put up over a point per game during his first two years of junior hockey eligibility with Spokane, it stands to reason that his apparent return to the Braves gives fans stateside a reason to get excited, and teams in the rest of the Neil Murdoch division reason to take notice.