WHL trades since Dec. 27:
Bantam draft picks: 40.
Conditional bantam draft picks: 10.
(WHL trade deadline is Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT).
The Regina Pats jumped into the WHL’s trade deadline pool on Tuesday, making like a cannonballer at a Hawaiian resort. They made a deal with the Red Deer Rebels that involved four players, two first-roundbantam draft picks and two conditional selections.
The Pats acquired D Josh Mahura, 18, F Jeff de Wit, 18, and a conditional third-round pick in 2019 for F Lane Zablocki, who turned 18 on Dec. 27, D Dawson Barteaux, 16, a first-round pick in 2017, a first-round pick in 2018 or 2019, and a conditional third-rounder in 2020.
Mahura and de Wit both played for the Rebels last season when they were the host team for the 2016 Memorial Cup tournament. The Pats, obviously, are a serious contender for the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions this season and are considered by most observers to be the favourite to be named hosts of the 2018 Memorial Cup.
Thus, any deals the Pats make have to be examined under that light. Were the Pats to win the WHL this season and also be the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, Mahura and de Wit could play in three straight national championship tournaments.
Keep in mind, too, that the Pats own the WHL rights to D Tyson Jost, who is playing for the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks. Should he end up joining the Pats at some time, and they are hoping he will be in their lineup next season, they will owe a first-round pick to the Everett Silvertips. Should Jost end up in Regina for 2016-17, Red Deer likely would get that 2018 first-rounder, with the 2019 pick going to Everett.
The 6-foot-0, 180-pound Mahura, from St. Albert, Alta., missed all but two games last season with an
injury to his left knee, but that didn’t stop the Anaheim Ducks from selecting him in the third round of the NHL’s 2016 draft. He was injured on the opening weekend of the 2015-16 season and was back in time to play in 17 playoff games and the Memorial Cup.
This season, Mahura had 33 points, including nine goals, in 39 games with the Rebels. In 92 career regular-season games, he has 42 points, 11 of them goals. The Rebels selected him in the second round of the 2013 bantam draft.
De Wit, from Red Deer, had four goals and five assists in 36 games with the Rebels this season, his third in Red Deer. Last season, the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder had 23 points, seven of them goals, in 70 games. In 174 career games, he has 14 goals and 30 assists.
Zablocki, from Wetaskiwin, Alta., had nine goals and 16 assists in 33 games with the Pats this season. Last season, as a freshman, he had 18 goals and 19 assists in 72 games. The 6-foot-0, 185-pounder was a fifth-round pick by the Prince George Cougars in the 2013 bantam draft. Regina acquired Zablocki in a deal that had F Jesse Gabrielle go to Prince George.
Barteaux was a first-round selection by the Pats in the 2015 bantam draft. From Foxwarren, Man., the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Barteaux will turn 17 on Thursday. He has two assists in 18 games with the Pats this season.
Something else that makes this trade interesting is that the Pats are loading up for a run at perhaps two Memorial Cups, while the Rebels are working to rebuild after making a boatload of moves leading into the 2016 tournament.
The Prince George Cougars added another top-end player to their roster on Tuesday when they acquired Slovakian F Radovan Bondra, 19, from the Vancouver Giants for Dutch F Bartek Bison, 18, F Tyler Ho, 16, and a third-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft.
Later in the day, the Cougars got F Tanner Wishnowski, 19, from the Spokane Chiefs for a conditional eight-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft.
Bondra was a fifth-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL’s 2015 draft. In 90 career games, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Bondra has 34 goals and 27 assists. This season, he had 19 goals and 12 assists in 32 games with the Giants.
Bondra was to join the Cougars in Red Deer prior to a game with the Rebels on Tuesday. They are to play in Medicine Hat on Wednedsay, Lethbridge on Friday and Calgary on Saturday.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Bison, who is from Amsterdam, has been sidelined with a concussion since Dec. 3. He had five goals and an assist in 22 games with the Cougars this season, after putting up six goals and nine assists in 56 games last season.
Ho, from North Vancouver, is the key to this deal from the Giants’ perspective. He was a third-round
Meanwhile, Wishnowski, from Oakbank, Man., hasn’t played since Nov. 19 due to an undisclosed injury.
He was listed by the Kelowna Rockets in 2013. Last season, he had seven goals and six assists in 54 games with the Rockets. He started this season with Kelowna, scoring once and adding an assist in 10 games, before being dealt to Spokane. In 13 games with the Chiefs, he had two goals and six assists before being injured.
The Cougars are on an Alberta road swing and Wishnowski will join them when they get home on Sunday.
In the past month, the Cougars added three prime-time players in Bondra, Russian F Nikita Popugaev and D Brendan Guhle, giving up six players and five bantam draft picks in the deals.
After putting Wishnowski on their roster, the Cougars were left with a 24-man roster that includes 15 players born in 1996 or 1997.
The Prince Albert Raiders have acquired F Jordy Stallard, 19, and a seventh-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft from the Calgary Hitmen for F Luke Coleman, 18, and a 2018 fourth-round selection.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Stallard, from Brandon, had eight goals and 19 assists in 32 games with the Hitmen this season. In 158 career games, he has 35 goals and 67 assists. The Hitmen selected him in the fourth round of the 2012 bantam draft. The Winnipeg Jets picked him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2016 draft.
Coleman, from Red Deer, was a fifth-round pick by the Raiders in the 2013 bantam draft. This season, he had seven goals and five assists in 39 games with the Raiders. In 123 career games, he has 21 goals and 21 assists.
Interestingly, the Hitmen are scheduled to visit Prince Albert on Wednesday night.
The Moose Jaw Warriors have acquired F Branden Klatt, 18, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2019.
The Warriors also added F Spencer Bast from the Kamloops Blazers for an eighth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.
This season, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Klatt, who is from Moose Jaw, had four goals and five assists in 41 games with Edmonton. In 85 career games, he put up five goals and 12 assists.
The Oil Kings selected Klatt in the sixth round of the 2013 bantam draft.
Bast, from Macklin, Sask., turned 20 on Jan. 5. A list player, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Bast had six goals and five assists in 40 games with the Blazers this season. Last season, in 47 games, he had four goals and eight assists.