Kitchener Rangers ship netminder Marcus Vandenburg to Niagara Icedogs

The Kitchener Rangers cleared up a potential logjam at the goaltender position by dealing Marcus Vandenberg to the Niagara IceDogs on Tuesday.

In return, the Rangers will receive defenceman Gabriel Runco as well as Erie’s second-round pick in 2024 and Niagara’s fifth-round pick in 2027.

Runco was acquired by Niagara at the beginning of last season in a deal with the Peterborough Petes. He appeared in 23 games with Niagara last season while also suiting up for the Brantofrd 99ers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League as well.

The Rangers drafted Vandenberg in the ninth round of the 2020 OHL draft. Last season, he appeared in 23 regular season games for Kitchener, posting a 9-9-1 record while recording a a 3.31 goals against average and a .898 save percentage.

“We wish Marcus the best moving forward,” said Kitchener Rangers General Manager Mike McKenzie

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“He is an extremely hard-working and professional person and his growth on and off the ice in the last couple of years has been tremendous.”

The Rangers opened their last training camp with Jackson Parsons and Vandenberg as their top two goalies, but soon acquired overager Marco Constantino from Hamilton.

With Constantino gone, the team still had two veteran netminders on the roster and no room for any of the youngsters in the pipeline.

“It is extremely difficult to see Marcus move on, but having two 19-year-old goalies on our roster is not an ideal situation for our club and hopefully this gives Marcus the chance he deserves to take on a starting role in the league,” McKenzie said.

Parsons, who missed the back end of last season due to injury, will likely move into the top role with the Rangers with one of several youngsters moving into the backup slot.

The most likely candidate would be Luca DeFelice, who was drafted in the fourth round two seasons ago.

The Rangers also took Evan Maillet in that draft as well as while selecting Owen Edwards and Ryan Jacobs in this spring’s draft.

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