Well this move was a bit unexpected, and I'm thinking something else has gotta be in the mix. This move leaves them with 13 forwards, which is generally 1 short of the average of 2 extra forwards..
With the depth the Tigers had on defense it initially seemed very likely that they would only keep one overage defenceman. Right now the Tigers have 5 defenceman who are 19 years+, plus an overage goaltender....I think for the whl that is as deep as one could go...and good luck scoring on this squad....its going to be pretty damn difficult with the talent and depth they have.
It leaves 10 defence on the roster.(which on average is 3 too many) Right now the Tigers are 2 player over the 25 man limit(including rathjen). Something is going to happen with the defenceman...whether it's just a couple cuts or a trade that sees an impact forward, they have too many players back there right now.
One begs the question of if the Tigers are going to go for it this year? Are the Tigers going to pull the trigger on a forward for defense-man type deal? It makes sense to keep the experience if your gunning for a title. This move has me very curious on what they plan to do next.