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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Your Tuesday morning feast . . .

One day after the Kootenay Ice sent five players and three bantam draft picks to the Swift Current Broncos for C Cody Eakin, 19, the Brandon Wheat Kings dealt C Brayden Schenn, 19, and a 2012 third-round bantam draft pick to the Saskatoon Blades for two prospects, three bantam draft picks and an import draft pick.
Schenn is a native of Saskatoon and the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs D Luke Schenn.
The Wheat Kings ended up with Saskatoon’s first-round bantam picks in 2011 and 2012, and a second-round selection in 2011, as well as a first-round selection in the CHL’s 2012 import draft.
As for the two prospects, F Tim McGauley of Wilcox, Sask., and D Ayrton Nikkel of Kelowna were the Blades’ top two selections in the 2010 bantam draft, one that is considered to be the deepest in recent history.
McGauley was taken by the Blades with the 20th pick of the 2010 draft. They then grabbed Nikkel with the 42nd selection.
McGauley plays for the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, for whom he has 20 points, including seven goals, in 30 games. Last season, he had 103 points for the bantam Lumsden-Bethune Contacts.
Nikkel has 30 points, 10 of them goals, in 33 games with the midget AAA team at the Program of Excellence in Kelowna.
McGauley was pointless in five games with the Blades this season, while Nikkel played one game with them, without a point, on their B.C. Division swing. The Blades had Nikkel make his WHL debut on Dec. 4 in his hometown against the Rockets.
In a team-issued press release, Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner, GM and head coach, explained his thinking in making the deal:
“This trade is a very important trade for our franchise. We felt that it was important to recover from some of the moves we made to build our team for last season’s Memorial Cup. When we were awarded the Cup in October 2008, we felt then that it might be a three year process with today’s move being part of that process.
“Acquiring picks and prospects that include three first-round bantam draft selections, and two second-round picks, along with a first-round import draft choice was a return we could not afford to ignore.”
Schenn, who wore No. 10 in Brandon, will wear No. 21 with the Blades. Saskatoon has retired No. 10 in honour of Brian Skrudland.
Schenn starred for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo; in fact, he was selected as the tournament’s MVP. However, he returned with a shoulder injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Because he started this season with the Los Angeles Kings, who selected him fifth overall in the 2009 NHL draft, Schenn played only two games -- he had four points -- with Brandon before leaving for the Canadian junior team selection camp.
In 197 career regular-season games with Brandon, Schenn had 264 points, including 95 goals. He added 40 points in 33 playoff games.
Shortly after the trade was made official, Schenn posted on his Facebook page:
“Thanks Brandon. you will be missed, but I am looking forward to playing for the Blades.” He also left a YouTube link to Ozzy Osbourne’s Mama, I’m coming Home.
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One thing worth remembering is that the Blades are an original WHL team, having been in the league since 1966-67. Saskatoon, in fact, is the only franchise to have played in every WHL season.
And it has never won a Memorial Cup.
The Blades appeared in the 1989 tournament as the host team and lost the championship game in overtime to the Swift Current Broncos.
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While doing an interview with Drew Wilson of radio station CKBI in Prince Albert on Monday, I was asked if there was a winner on deadline day.
I suggested that it would be Kootenay or Saskatoon, should one of those teams win the WHL championship. I also said that I really liked the acquisition of D Matt MacKenzie by the Tri-City Americans because he is a terrific player with Memorial Cup experience.
However, upon further review as they say in football, I have had a change of mind.
The winner on deadline day might well be D Tanner Sohn, a 19-year-old from Medicine Hat. He was traded by the Vancouver Giants to the Saskatoon Blades for a 10th-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft.
Sohn was a 13th-round selection by the Blades in 2006. He played one game with the Blades in 2007-08 and three more in 2008-09. He got into 29 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers last season, was dealt to Vancouver for a 2012 sixth-round pick and played 31 games with the Giants this season before being sent home last week to await a move.
Somewhere I seem to recall reading that Sohn was ninth on the Giants’ defensive depth chart at the time.
Now Sohn isn’t going to join the Blades on a full-time basis just yet. He is going to play with Saskatoon this weekend and then return to the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. But he could well end up with the Blades for at least part of their playoff run.
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Interestingly, the Sohn swap was the only trade made Monday that involved a B.C. Division team. And when was the last time that Bruce Hamilton, the president and GM of the Kelowna Rockets, didn’t make a move at the deadline? I’m told that Hamilton, at least at one point, was in the Schenn Sweepstakes but you have to think the price of poker was too high for him and Lorne Frey, the Rockets’ assistant GM and director of player personnel.
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It was a year ago when the Regina Pats were surrounded in speculation -- would they trade F Jordan Eberle or D Colten Teubert? Teubert had been selected by the Los Angeles Kings with the 13th overall pick of the 2009 NHL draft; Eberle went to the Edmonton Oilers with that draft’s 22nd pick.
In the end, Parker, who was the Pats’ general manager, hung on to both Eberle and Teubert.
Yesterday, I asked Parker if he had received any offers close to what Kootenay paid for Cody Eakin or what Saskatoon coughed up for Brayden Schenn.
Parker, now the Pats’ president, responded: “Not even close to it, and that was for both of our guys.”
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The Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Ryan Button from the Prince Albert Raiders for F Charles Wells and a first-round selection in the 2011 import draft. I’m told that this deal also includes a conditional draft pick going to Prince Albert, presumably payable should Button return for his 20-year-old season.
Button, 19, is from Edmonton and was in his fourth season with the Raiders. This season, he has 23 points, including 20 assist, in 44 games. In his fourth WHL season, he has 101 points in 240 career regular-season games. He was a second-round pick by the Raiders in the 2006 bantam draft and a third-round selection by the Boston Bruins in the NHL’s 2009 draft.
Wells, who also is from Edmonton, has 27 points, 11 of them goals, in 41 games with Seattle this season. In 212 regular-season games, he has 104 points with Seattle. He was a fifth-round pick in the 2006 bantam draft.
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The Raiders then sent Danish F Sebastian Svendsen, 19, to the Moose Jaw Warriors for Slovakian F Michal Hlinka, 17, and third- and sixth-round picks in the 2011 bantam draft.
Svendsen also has played for the Vancouver Giants and Edmonton Oil Kings. The Raiders dealt F Jordan Hickmott, 20, to the Oil Kings for him over the summer. This season, Svendsen has 34 points, including 17 goals, in 44 games.
Hlinka, the 28th overall pick in the 2010 CHL import draft, had six points in 22 games with Moose Jaw.
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The Regina Pats dealt D Mitch Spooner, 18, to the Seattle Thunderbirds for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. Spooner, from Port Moody, B.C., had five points in 15 games with Regina. He had been acquired last season from the Vancouver Giants, who selected him with the 19th overall pick of the 2007 bantam draft.
Spooner had left the Pats in November for personal reasons.
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The Everett Silvertips dealt two veterans -- F Kellan Tochkin, 19, and D Alex Theriau, 18, -- to the Medicine Hat Tigers for F Ryan Harrison, 18, and a 2011 second-round bantam pick.
Harrison, from Kelowna, has 122 points and 295 penalty minutes in 176 career games. This season, in 40 games, he has 33 points and 47 penalty minutes. He was selected by the Prince Albert Raiders with the 29th pick of the 2007 WHL draft and was dealt to the Tigers last summer.
Tochkin, from Abbotsford, B.C., was the 13th overall pick in the 2006 bantam draft. He has 179 points in 185 games with Everett and has signed with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks as a free agent. This season, he has 36 points in 38 games.
Theriau was the sixth overall pick by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2007 bantam draft and moved to Everett in a deal that included F Kyle Beach going the other way two years ago. Theriau has 36 points and 125 penalty minutes in 166 WHL games. This season, he has seven poins and 27 PMs in 37 games.
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The Tri-City Americans acquired D Matt MacKenzie, 19, from the Calgary Hitmen for F Brooks Macek, 18, D Spencer Humphries, 18, and a conditional 2012 third-round bantam draft pick. Calgary gets a third-rounder should MacKenzie return for his 20-year-old season.
MacKenzie, a third-round pick by the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL’s 2010 draft, has 23 points and 50 penalty minutes in 40 games this season. In 192 career games with the Hitmen, he has 83 points and 144 penalty minutes. He was a second-round pick in the 2006 bantam draft.
Macek, a second-round pick in the 2007 bantam draft, is from Winnipeg. He has 24 points in 38 games this season and 121 points in 170 career games. He was a second-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2010 NHL draft.
Humphries, from Delta, B.C., was a list player. He has five points and 50 penalty minutes in 34 games this season.
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F Justin Dowling, 20, is the new captain of the Swift Current Broncos. F Cody Eakin, 19, who was traded to the Kootenay Ice on Sunday, had been the Broncos’ captain. . . . The Broncos will have a new face on the ice at practice today, but just for this practice. F Graham Black of the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, whose rights the Broncos acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings over Christmas, is going to skate with the Broncos today. Black, a 17-year-old who leads the Saskatchewan midget AAA league in goals (35) and points (54), wants to see how he stacks up at this level. However, he has yet to decide whether to take the WHL route or the NCAA road. . . . Black has a 12-point lead atop his league’s points race and leads the goal-scoring derby by 14. . . .
D Stefan Elliott of the Saskatoon Blades is the WHL’s player of the week. He had six points in two games, both of which the Blades won. . . . Darcy Kuemper is the WHL’s nominee as goaltender of the week. He was 1-0-1, with a 0.96 GAA and a .962 save percentage last week. . . . The Spokane Chiefs have assigned D Kyle Krzyzaniak to the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. Krzyzaniak, 18, was pointless in seven games. . . . The Calgary Hitmen also removed three players from their roster. D Brody Luhning, 18, who joined the Hitmen after the Christmas break, is back with the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars. He was pointless in five games with the Hitmen. D Carter Berg, who had three points in 36 games, is off to the SJHL, likely to the Melfort Mustangs. Berg was taken in the second round of the 2007 bantam draft by the Chilliwack Bruins. And G Juraj Holly, 19, has returned to his native Slovakia. In his first WHL season, he was 1-6-0, 3.93, .869. Holly’s departure leaves the Hitmen with two goaltenders -- Michael Snider, 19, and Brandon Glover, 18. . . .
The Moose Jaw Warriors have assigned F Mackenzie Royer, 18, to the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. Royer was acquired earlier in the season in a multi-player deal with the Calgary Hitmen. He had nine points in 19 games with Moose Jaw after putting up two points in 16 games with Calgary. . . . In the BCHL, F Kyle St. Denis, 20, wasn’t dealt to the Trail Smoke Eaters by the Victoria Grizzlies, so if he is to play this season it will have to be in the B.C. capital. I’m told Victoria asked for cash and a top six forward, something the injury-riddled Smokies weren’t prepared to do. The Smoke Eaters had kept a 20-year-old spot open for St. Denis, but later filled it by acquiring F Nic DeSousa from the Prince George Spruce Kings.
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Here’s another big trade from the WHL’s past. . . . On Oct. 31, 1986, the Regina Pats dealt F Brent Fedyk, F Ken MacIntyre, F Garnet Kaziuk, D Gerald Bzdel and D Kevin Kowalchuk to the Seattle Thunderbirds for F Craig Endean, F Ray Savard, D Grant Chorney and F Erin Ginnell. . . . I also believe that each team received a list player in the exchange. I can’t recall who went to Seattle, but I believe that’s how Regina landed F Frank Kovacs, who went on to play on Regina’s PUP line with fellow 16-year-olds Jamie Heward and Mike Sillinger. All three are Regina natives.

gdrinnan@kamloopsnews.ca
     
gdrinnan.blogspot.com
     
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