Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Silvertips surrender first-rounder, two players for Oil Kings' captain

WHL trades since Dec. 27:
Trades: 9
Players: 17
Bantam draft picks: 9
Conditional bantam draft picks: 1
(WHL trade deadline is Jan. 10).
Any doubts that may have been lingering about the Everett Silvertips’ intentions this season were erased on Wednesday when the WHL team acquired veteran D Aaron Irving, 20, from the Edmonton Oil Kings.
The Silvertips definitely went all-in, as they gave up a first-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft, along
with F Graham Miller, 20, and F Brett Kemp, 16. Everett also got a seventh-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft.
Irving, an Edmonton native, was the Oil Kings’ captain. He holds the franchise career record for goals (38) by a defenceman and is third in points (126), all done in 244 games.
This season, Irving was Edmonton’s leading scorer, with 43 points, including 14 goals. He is second among all WHL defencemen in points, trailing only David Quenneville of the Medicine Hat Tigers, who has 48 points but suffered a broken fibula on Tuesday night.
The Oil Kings selected the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Irving with the ninth overall pick of the 2011 bantam draft. In 2014, the Nashville Predators picked him in the seventh round of the NHL draft, but he has yet to sign an NHL contract.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Millar, from Penticton, had nine goals and seven assists in 25 games with Everett this season. In 226 career games, split between Everett and the Saskatoon Blades, he has 83 points, including 44 goals. He will turn 21 on Jan. 11.
Kemp, from Yorkton, Sask., had three goals and four assists in 17 games in his freshman season with the Silvertips. He also was pointless in six games with Canada Black at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Kemp, 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, was a second-round selection in the 2015 bantam draft.
The Oil Kings, who are at home to the Vancouver Giants tonight, expect to have Millar and Kemp available on Friday when they visit the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Edmonton (18-17-4) is tied for third in the Central Division with the Red Deer Rebels, each of them having 40 points. At the same time, the Brandon Wheat Kings also have 40 points and are tied with Red Deer for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff spots, four points ahead of the Saskatoon Blades.
The Silvertips (25-5-6), who are three points behind the Regina Pats, who lead the overall standings, next play Friday against the host Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash.
Having allowed only 77 goals in 36 games, Everett is easily the WHL’s best defensive team. Irving won’t hurt them in that area and also will add to their offence which, while not as poor as its reputation, could always use a boost.
It also is fair to say that the Silvertips‘ roster now includes three of the top right-hand shooting defencemen in the WHL, with Irving joining veterans Kevin Davis and Noah Juulsen.
Davis is having a career season, with three goals and 28 assists in 36 games, while Juulsen, who is with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship, has 20 points, including nine goals, in 25 games.
Everett goes into tonight’s action tied with the Prince George Cougars for first place in the Western Conference, although the Silvertips hold three games in hand. Everett also leads the U.S. Division by nine points over the Tri-City Americans.

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