Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday’s moves in the Western Hockey League:
EVERETT SILVERTIPS—Released F Vladimir Dolnik, 18. Reassigned F Matt Grant, 18, to BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals. Reassigned D Darian Henry, 17, to AJHL’s Drumheller Dragaons.
KELOWNA ROCKETS—Released D Kevin Smith, 20.
KOOTENAY ICE—Traded F Brendan Hurley, 18, to Medicine Hat Tigers for a 2012 third-round bantam draft pick.
MEDICINE HAT TIGERS—Traded F Reid Petryk, 18, to Everett Silvertips for F Miles Koules, 17.
MOOSE JAW WARRIORS—Traded F Brett Lyon, 20, to Kelowna Rockets for a 2013 seventh-round bantam draft pick and a 2014 fifth-round pick.
PRINCE ALBERT RAIDERS—Assigned D Mathew Berry-Lamontagna, 18, to BCHL’s Westside Warriors.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS—Traded D Martin Marincin, 19, 2012 fourth- and seventh-round bantam draft picks and a 2013 fourth-round bantam draft pick to Regina Pats for D Ricard Blidstrand, 19, 2012 first- and second-round bantam draft picks and a 2013 fifth-round pick. Assigned D Josh Smith, 17, to undisclosed AJHL team. Added F John Odgers, 18, to roster.
SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS—Traded F Marcel Noebels, 19, to Portland for F Seth Swenson, 18, and first-round bantam draft picks in 2012 and 2013.
SPOKANE CHIEFS—Added F Dylan Walchuk, 19, to roster.
TRI-CITY AMERICANS—Acquired WHL rights to F Brett Connolly, 19, from Prince George Cougars for 2013 fifth-round bantam draft pick, conditional 2013 first-round draft pick and conditional 2014 second-round draft pick.
VANCOUVER GIANTS—Traded F James Henry, 20, to Moose Jaw Warriors for 2012 second-round bantam draft pick and 2014 third-round pick. Traded G Brendan Jensen, 18, to Portland for a 2013 sixth-round bantam draft pick. Traded D Eric Walker, 18, to Swift Current for a 2012 eighth-round bantam draft pick.
DRAFT TRACKER (since Dec. 27):
Trades made: 22
Players: 35
Bantam draft picks: 29
Import draft picks: 0
(Does not include conditional draft picks)
While everyone waited to see if the Regina Pats would trade away veteran C Jordan Weal, general manager Chad Lang performed an end-around.
Instead of selling, the Pats turned into buyers as the WHL deadline came and went on Tuesday.
Lang stunned a lot of people when he landed Slovakian D Martin Marincin, 19, early Tuesday in a deal with the Prince George Cougars that ended up totalling two players and six bantam draft picks.
Marincin, a second-round pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2010 NHL draft, was one of the big fish in the WHL lake as the trade deadline approached. In exchange for him, the Cougars got Swedish D Ricard Blidstrand, 19, first- and second-round picks in 2012 and a fifth-rounder in 2013.
Along with Marincin, Regina also got fourth- and seventh-round selections in 2012 and a fourth-rounder in 2013.
Marincin, a big, rangy defender who excels on the PP, has 17 points in 30 games this season. Last season, he had 56 points in 67 games. He is expected to be in the Pats’ lineup tonight against the host Prince Albert Raiders.
Blidstrand, a seventh-round selection by the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL’s 2010 draft, had 17 points in 70 games last season. This season, he has 13 points in 30 games.
The Prince George Cougars sent the WHL rights to F Brett Connolly to the Tri-City Americans for one bantam draft pick and two conditional picks. The Cougars get a 2013 fifth-round selection from the Americans, along with a conditional first-round pick in 2013 and a conditional second-round selection in 2014. As I understand it, if Connolly reports and if the Americans were to win the Western Conference, that 2014 pick would become a first-rounder. . . . Connolly, the sixth overall pick in the NHL’s 2010 draft, has been with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, except for four weeks with Canada’s national junior team. He has eight points with the Lightning. . . . Connolly played 8:33 last night in a 5-4 shootout loss to the visiting Vancouver Canucks. He had 13 shifts, all at even strength. . . . Hello, Steve, this is Bob Tory calling. . . .
The Portland Winterhawks surprised more than a few people by surrendering two first-round bantam draft picks and F Seth Swenson, 18, to acquire F Marcel Noebels, 19, from the Seattle Thunderbirds.
The Winterhawks gave up first-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 bantam drafts.
“We just could not pass up the offer that was made,” Russ Farwell, the general manager of the Seattle Thunderbirds (of Kent), said in a news release. “We add a younger player and two high draft picks.”
Noebels, from Germany, has 24 points in 31 games this season. He also is a minus-22. He was the 10th overall selection by Seattle in the 2010 CHL import draft. The Philadelphia Flyers own his NHL rights, having taken him in the fourth round of the 2011 draft.
Swenson, from Parker, Colo., had seven points in 33 games with Portland. This is his third WHL season. He has 21 points and 64 penalty minutes in 132 games.
The Portland Winterhawks also acquired G Brendan Jensen, 18, from the Vancouver Giants for a 2013 sixth-round bantam draft pick.
Jensen, from El Granada, Calif., is with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. With the Saints, Jensen is 12-0-3, 2.14, .917.
And, to make room for F Cam Reid, 20, the Winterhawks released F Dillon Wagner, 20. Wagner, who was acquired earlier this season from the Swift Current Broncos, had seven points and 25 penalty minutes in 17 games with Portland.
A note about the deal between Portland and Edmonton on Monday in which the rights to F Cam Reid, 20, went from the Oil Kings to the Winterhawks.
The deal was announced as being for a 2012 eighth-round bantam draft pick. Actually, that is the price Portland paid just to talk with Reid. Under conditions of the deal, that pick has been upgraded to a 2013 second-round selection as Reid has left St. Cloud State and reported to Portland.
Any doubt about whether Reid would report was erased when I received a message from an interested observer:
“At MSP airport last night, there was a SCSU hockey bag with a bag tag for PDX sitting there . . . just saying!”
That would be Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and St. Cloud State University (SCSU) and Portland (PDX).
On Monday, the Moose Jaw Warriors acquired F Cam Braes, 20, who had been the captain of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
On Tuesday, the Warriors went out and got F James Henry, 20, who was the Vancouver Giants’ captain.
In exchange for Henry, the Warriors gave up a second-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft and a third-round pick in the 2014 draft.
Henry, a ninth-round pick by Vancouver in the 2006 draft, was second on the Giants’ all-time list for games played (281). This season, he has 41 points, including 35 assists, in 41 games. He has 184 points in those 281 regular-season games.
Henry, who is from Winnipeg, and Moose Jaw D Dylan McIlrath are old friends from their childhood days in the Manitoba capital.
“He was a heck of a player when we were younger,” McIlrath told Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald. “It’s going to be fun to play with him.”
Immediately following the trade, the Giants named F Brendan Gallagher as team captain.
That deal also left the Warriors with four 20-year-olds, one over the maximum. The other two were F Brett Lyon and F Kenton Miller.
The Warriors promptly traded Lyon, who is having a career offensive season, to the Kelowna Rockets for a 2013 seventh-round bantam draft pick and a 2014 fifth-round pick.
Lyon has 28 points, including 11 goals, and 95 penalty minutes in 41 games. In 199 career games, Lyon has 54 points and 537 penalty minutes.
One of the WHL’s toughest players, his previous career highs were five goals and five assists. From Grand Forks, B.C., he also has played with the Kamloops Blazers and Vancouver.
That left the Rockets with four 20-year-olds – the others being F Cody Chikie, D Kevin Smith and G Adam Brown – so the dominoes continued to fall.
In order to get down to three, the Rockets released Smith.
Late last night it was reported that Smith had signed with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies.
However, let’s not forget that Vancouver has room for a 20-year-old. Vancouver’s brass was meeting after the Giants’ 3-0 victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars last night. Should the Giants choose to add a 20-year-old, their options could include Smith or F Dillon Wagner, who was dropped by Portland.
The Vancouver Giants sent D Eric Walker, 18, to the Swift Current Broncos for a 2012 eighth-round bantam draft pick.
Walker left Northern Michigan University to join the Giants on Nov. 19. With Vancouver, Walker had two assists and 18 penalty minutes in 16 games.
The Medicine Hat Tigers dealt F Reid Petryk, 18, to the Everett Silvertips for the rights to F Miles Koules, 17. . . . Petryk, a fourth-round pick in the 2008 bantam draft, had 19 points and 56 penalty minutes in 43 games with the Tigers. . . . Should Koules report to the Tigers, Everett also will get a fourth-round bantam pick. . . . Koules is in the U.S. National Team Development Program. He plays for the U-18 team that is based in Ann Arbor, Mich., and has committed to attend the U of North Dakota. . . . Koules is the son of former WHLer Oren Koules (Portland, Great Falls, Medicine Hat, Spokane, Calgary, Brandon, 1979-82), who did a stint as owner of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning a couple of seasons ago. Among other things, Koules, if you weren’t aware, is a movie producer. Go ahead. Google him. . . . Miles Koules has 13 points in 32 games with the U-18 team. Two seasons ago, he played at Shattock-St. Marys. . . . Pre-trade deadline speculation had Koules ending up with the Portland Winterhawks, something Oren Koules had heard.
The Kootenay Ice sent F Brendan Hurley, 18, to the Medicine Hat Tigers for a 2012 third-round bantam draft pick. Hurley, from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., had six points and 29 penalty minutes in 26 games with the Ice. He was in his third season with the Ice, and was a member of last season’s Memorial Cup championship team.
The Spokane Chiefs have added F Dylan Walchuk, 19, to their roster. Walchuk, who has been on the Chiefs’ list since December 2008, has played at Northern Michigan University and with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers this season. A native of McBride, B.C., Walchuk played the last two seasons with the Vipers, who won one Canadian junior A championship and reached the final last year. This season, Walchuk had eight points in 19 games at NMU. He then left NMU and returned to the Vipers, putting up six points in six games with Vernon.
The Everett Silvertips reassigned F Vladimir Dolnik, F Matt Grant and D Darian Henry. . . . Dolnik, 18, was selected in the 2011 CHL import draft and is returning to Slovakia. He had five helpers in 27 games with the Silvertips. . . . Grant, with no points in four games, is returning to the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals. Grant, 18, was acquired earlier in the season from Moose Jaw in a deal that had G Luke Siemens go to the Warriors. . . . Henry, 17, will join the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. He had one assist in 16 games with Everett. . . . The Prince George Cougars have assigned D Josh Smith, 17, to an undisclosed AJHL team. Smith In his second full season with the Cougars, had six points and 77 penalty minutes in 31 games. . . . The Cougars also revealed that they will be keeping F John Odgers, 18, for the remainder of the season. The son of former WHL/NHL F Jeff Odgers, John has one goal in four games. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders have assigned D Mathew Berry-Lamontagna, 18, to the BCHL’s Westside Warriors. He had one assist and 10 penalty minutes in 17 games with the Raiders.
Here’s how things work these days, thanks to Twitter, as folks watch the WHL trade deadline approach:
To set the stage . . . the Moose Jaw Warriors had just traded F Brett Lyon, 20, to the Kelowna Rockets. That deal left the Rockets with four 20-year-olds, the others being G Adam Brown, D Kevin Smith and F Cody Chikie.
At the same time, there had been ample speculation that the Brandon Wheat Kings were in the market for a goaltender. Never mind that they already have three on their roster.
So . . .
Early Tuesday afternoon, Bruce Luebke, the radio voice of the  Wheat Kings, tweeted: “Take it for what it's worth, but Daniel Asham and Dylan Kuczek among those missing from #bdnwheatkings practice today.”
WEHP scout then responded with: “Could Asham/Kuczek be heading to Kelowna for Adam Brown? I feel things are winding down now.”
Cody Nickolet, the analyst on Saskatoon Blades’ broadcasts, followed that with: “It must be Brown on the way to Brandon now as the Rockets have too many 20's.”
Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Rockets, ended the suspense with: “To make room for Lyon, @Kelowna_Rockets release 20 year old d-man Kevin Smith.”
But what of Asham and Kuczek?
A few minutes later, Luebke tweeted: “Apparently, Kuczek and Asham both missing practice today with illness. Don't know if it's upper body illness or lower body illness.”
While we’re at it, let’s not forget about the toll that the lead-up to the trade deadline takes on the players. Here are a few tweets from Tuesday:
D Derrick Pouliot, Portland Winterhawks: “WHL trade deadline #nerveracking tension in the dressing room #fornow”
F James Henry, after being traded from Vancouver to Moose Jaw: “Want to say thank u to everyone in vancouver the fans players coaches management owners scouts n billets thank u for everything”
F Justin Kirsch of the Moose Jaw Warriors: “These are the most nerve racking days of a young mans career #tradedeadline”
F Andrew Johnson of the Warriors: “Sad day for the boys. Gonna miss ya @BLyon9 best of luck out there and keep in touch. Will always remember the self proclaimed 'big cheese' ”
Former WHL G Jeff Bosch, now at Lakehead U in Thunder Bay: “for the 1st time in 5 yrs i dont have 2 worry about being dealt 2 a new team, different city #unilife #thanksciszler4nothavingtrades”
And there was this tweet from Seattle Thunderbirds goaltender Calvin Pickard: “@bconnolly8 don't even think about it..........”
And one from Portland F Sven Baertschi: “well i guess im not the only euro anymore....@MarcelNoebels !!!”
If you enjoyed the extensive WHL trade deadline coverage, perhaps you would consider donating to the cause. If so, just click HERE. . . and thank you very much.
The NHL’s Anaheim Ducks have restructured the coach staff of their AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. Trent Yawney, who had been a pro scout with the Ducks, was moved in as associate head coach, Mark Holick, a former Kootenay Ice head coach, was moved from head coach to associate coach. . . . Marty Wilford stays on as assistant coach. . . . Yawney, from Hudson Bay, Sask., had been an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks from 2008-11. . . . Yawney was an assistant coach under Marc Crawford with the Canadian team at the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland, late last month. . . . The Crunch is 15-15-4, good for fourth place in the five team East Division.
JUST NOTES: F Henrik Samuelsson practised with the Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday. He was skating alongside T.J. Foster and Kristians Pelss. . . . Samuelsson, the son of former NHL D Ulf Samuelsson, is eligible for the NHL’s 2012 draft. He had been playing in Sweden but, because he was born in Sweden, he isn’t classified as an import player. . . . F Stefan Matteau, the U.S. U-18 team’s leading scorer, has decided not to go to the U of North Dakota. He announced via Twitter that he will play for the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada next season. He is the son of former NHL F Stephane Matteau, who is an assistant coach with the Armada. “My decision is final,” the younger Matteau tweeted. . . . The OHL has suspended Kingston Frontenacs D Alex Gudbranson, 18, for 10 games for a hit to the head of Peterborough Petes F Matt Puempel. Gudbranson is the younger brother of Florida Panthers D Erik Gudbranson.
In Vancouver, G Jackson Whistle earned his first WHL victory and his first shutout as the Giants dumped the Prince George Cougars, 3-0. . . . Whistle, a 16-year-old from Kelowna, is 1-5-0, 3.42, .873. . . . It was the first time Vancouver has blanked an opponent this season. . . . The Cougars have been shut out a WHL-leading seven times. . . . The Cougars have been shut out in three of their last four games, during which time they have scored one goal. . . . F Brendan Gallagher had a goal, his 28th, and an assist for the Giants. . . . F Dalton Sward got the game’s first goal. It was his 10th, equalling his total from last season. He also ended a 13-game drought by scoring on his 18th birthday. . . . The Giants won the season series, 7-1. . . . The Cougars have lost five in a row. 



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