The Lethbridge Hurricanes have dealt F Jay Merkley, 17, to the Swift Current Broncos for F Josh Derko, 19, and a third-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Merkley, who waived a no-trade clause, had 22 points, including 14 goals, in 44 games with the Hurricanes this season. Last season, the Calgary native had 23 points, 12 of them goals, in 58 games as a freshman. He was the third overall selection in the 2010 bantam draft.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Derko, from Sherwood Park, Alta., had 11 points and 68 penalty minutes in 31 games with the Broncos this season. A fifth-round pick by the Broncos in the 2008 bantam draft, Derko had 13 points and 100 penalty minutes in 63 games last season. In 143 career gams, all with the Broncos, he had 28 points and 201 penalty minutes.
Obviously, Lethbridge GM/head coach Rich Preston wanted to toughen up his forward ranks. He did that at the expense of giving up a talented young forward in Merkley.
Mark Lamb, the Swift Current Broncos’ GM and head coach, sounds as though he has no interest in trading F Adam Lowry, 19, who has 56 points, including 27 goals, in 43 games.
"The prices are very steep,” Lamb told Shawn Mullin, who handles the team’s play-by-play duties. “He's one of the top players in the league. We want to surround him not have him leave town."
The Calgary Hitmen have acquired D Jesse Zgraggen, 19, from the Victoria Royals for a 2013 fourth-round bantam draft pick. . . . Zgraggen, from Lethbridge, had seven points and 34 penalty minutes in 33 games with Victoria. He is in his third WHL season and has 22 points in 157 career games with Victoria and the Chilliwack Bruins.
I am told that the hottest commodity in the WHL as the deadline approaches may be depth defencemen. The acquisition of Zgraggen by Calgary would fall into this category.
The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Jan. 10. Here is a look at trades since the end of the WHL’s Christmas trade moratorium:
Jan. 1: Medicine Hat trades D Dylan Busenius, 19, F Jayden Hart, 18, and a 2014 sixth-round bantam drafat pick to Prince Albert for F Logan McVeigh, 18, D Zach Hodder, 19, F Connor Hobbs, 15, and a 2013 second-round bantam draft pick.
Jan. 2: Vancouver trades F Kale Kessy, 20, to Kamloops for F Rob Trzonkowski, 18, and a 2015 fifth-round bantam draft pick.
Jan. 3: Everett trades F Trent Lofthouse, 18, to Victoria for a 2014 sixth-round bantam draft pick.
Jan. 3: Victoria trades G Jared Rathjen, 18, to Vancouver for a 2013 eighth-round bantam draft pick. Jan. 7: Victoria trades D Jesse Zgraggen, 19, to Calgary for a 2013 fourth-round bantam draft pick.
Jan. 7: Lethbridge trades F Jay Merkley, 17, to Swift Current for F Josh Derko, 19, and a 2014 third-round bantam draft pick.
F Matthew Gelinas, 17, has signed with the Tri-City Americans and may be in their lineup on Wednesday when they meet the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Gelinas is in his second season with the midget AAA Calgary Royals. He has 30 points, including 18 goals, in 24 games. Last season, he had 13 points in 34 games with the Royals. . . . Gelinas is the son of Martin Gelinas, a longtime NHL player who now is on the coaching staff of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . Matthew will return to the Royals after the Americans play the Rockets in Kelowna on Friday.
The Spokane Chiefs have added F Adam Smith, 18, to their roster on a “tryout basis.” Smith is from Nanaimo. He is expected to play tonight against the host Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Smith has played 22 WHL games – 20 with the Swift Current Broncos in 2011-12 and two with the Portland Winterhawks in 2010-11. Portland selected him in the ninth round of the 2009 bantam draft. . . . Smith has split this season between the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals and the junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers.
The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Justin Greer, 15, to a WHL contract. Greer, from Edmonton, was a fourth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. He is playing for the midget AAA CAC United Cycle team and has 15 points in 18 games. . . .
The Winterhawks, who won 12 straight games from Oct. 10 to Nov. 11, have won 10 in a row as they prepare for a Tuesday-Wednesday doubleheader against the visiting Prince George Cougars. . . . Portland has won 29 of its last 31 games. . . . The Winterhawks lead the WHL’s overall standings by seven points over the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers, and lead the U.S. Division by 16 points over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Should Portland G Mac Carruth start on Tuesday, he’ll be gunning for the franchise record for career regular-season victories. He has 105 and is tied with Darrell May Sr., who ended his junior career in 1982. . . .
With players coming back from various international events, the Winterhawks have dropped D Eric Walker, 19, and D Linden Springer, 18, from their roster. Walker had one assist and 11 penalty minutes in 11 games, while Springer was pointless in three outings.
Walker (@WalkerFlocka4) tweeted last night: “@pdxwinterhawks thanks for the opportunity and experience these past couple weeks or so, top notch organization and I really enjoyed it all.”
The Vancouver Giants have added D Arvin Atwal, 17, to their roster. He had been with junior B North Delta Devils of the Pacific International league. Atwal, 6-foot-0 and 190 pounds, played five games with the Giants last season and two earlier this season. He has yet to record his first WHL point. . . . Atwal was selected in the eighth round of the 2010 bantam draft by the Prince Albert Raiders. The Giants acquired him and F Austin Connor from the Raiders for F Teal Burns and D Tyler Hart on Oct. 17, 2011. . . . The Giants added Atwal to their roster a day after losing D Wes Vannieuwenhuizen, 20, with a hand injury after a shot block.
The Giants also announced yesterday that Chad Scharff, their head equipment manager, is leaving to join the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
Scharff is a former Giants player, scout and assistant coach.
D Matt Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels will join the Minnesota Wild when NHL teams open their abbreviated camps this weekend. But the Wild apparently plans on returning him to the Rebels before the season opens.
“I talked to Minnesota (Monday) morning and Matt talked to them (Monday) afternoon,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ owner, general manager and head coach, told Greg Meachem of the Red Deer Advocate. “He’ll be going in at the end of the week and will spend four or five days there and come back.
“It will be good for Matt, good for his development. The experience he’ll get will be beneficial.”
Dumba was the seventh overall selection in the NHL’s 2012 draft.
The Saskatoon Blades hope to have F Nathan Burns back in their lineup against the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Friday. Burns, 19, was injured in a game against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers on Jan. 1. . . . The Blades also said Monday that D Kyle Schmidt, who has been out with an undisclosed injury since Nov. 24, will be returned to the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars once he gets medical clearance.
The Brandon Wheat Kings may have F Michael Ferland and F Alessio Bertaggia back in the lineup tonight when they play host to the Calgary Hitmen. Ferland has missed three games with an undisclosed injury, while Bertaggia played for Switzerland at the World Junior Championship.
Two German DEL teams, the host Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers of Nuremberg and the Eisbaren Berlin, played in the Stadion Nuremberg on Saturday. What’s the big deal? Well, that is a soccer stadium. An outdoor soccer stadium.
The teams drew 50,000 fans, including as many as 7,000 Eisbaren fans who made the 450-kilometre trek.There is more right here, including a mention of former WHLer T.J. Mulock. No, I didn’t know that T.J. stands for Travis James.
From former Medicine Hat Tigers G Tyler Bunz (@tylerbunz): “gotta admit i was shocked when a girl made me sign her "bunz" after the game saturday..cant say thats happened before #waitwhatdidyousay?”
Bunz now is with the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder.
From Prince George Cougars F Jarrett Fontaine (@JFontaine32): “@WHLFacts — 7 - the number of toe picks in practice by (@ZachPochiro13) today, currently leading the league in this category”
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