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WHL trade deadline action heating up

By Ryan McCracken on January 08, 2016

The Red Deer Rebels acquired forward Jake DeBrusk on Dec. 27 as the team prepares to host the 2016 Memorial Cup. (Rob Wallator)

Trade deadline season in the WHL started early, and ever since the Red Deer Rebels acquired forward Jake DeBrusk on Dec. 27, a whopping 21 players have been bounced around the league, on top of 10 draft picks.

GEARING UP

Red Deer Rebels – The Rebels are gearing up to host the Memorial Cup, and have made the biggest moves of the season accordingly. Red Deer has picked up Swift Broncos sensation Jake DeBrusk — in exchange for centre Lane Pederson, a first round draft pick in 2017 and a third round selection this year —Spokane Chiefs overage forward Adam Helewka — for captain Wyatt Johnson, prospect Eli Zummack and two draft picks — and Kootenay Ice overage centre Luke Philp — giving up forward Presten Kopeck, defenceman Ryan Pouliot, prospect Tanner Sidaway and two picks. All that, and the deadline is still a couple days away.

Saskatoon Blades – The Blades are just a few points out of the playoff picture, and Saskatoon’s general manager Bob Woods has been at the trade table searching for a few missing pieces. The Blades have given up a trio of defenceman in overager Mitch Wheaton, 18-year-old Schael Higson and 17-year-old prospect Dean Stewart — as well as three draft picks — but they’ve picked up a few recognizable names in the process. Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman Dustin Perrilat, 18, has recently joined the ranks in Saskatoon, as well as former Wheat Kings winger Braylon Shmyr and overage blueliner Colton Waltz.

Seattle Thunderbirds – The Thunderbirds have been in the running for the U.S. Division title all season long, but the recent additions of goaltender Landon Bow, defenceman Bryan Allbee and centre Calvin Leth could help them break away from the pack.  The additions didn’t come without their costs however, as the Birds sent goalie Taz Burman and forward Jamal Watson to the Swift Current Broncos for Bow, as well as defenceman Sahvan Khaidra for former Bronco Leth. The Broncos also sent a fifth round pick in 2017 to the Kootenay Ice for Allbee

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

Kootenay Ice – The struggling Ice haven’t been able to reach the 10-win plateau in more than 40 attempts, and general manager Jeff Chynoweth has been shopping for picks. The Ice received two draft picks, prospect Tanner Sidaway, 17-year-old Ryan Pouliot and Presten Kopeck in exchange for injured forward Luke Philp (broken ankle). The next day Kopeck found himself moving to American soil with the Spokane Chiefs in exchange for overage winger Riley Whittingham and a fourth round pick in 2017, then added another late-round pick in 2017 from the Thunderbirds in exchange for defenceman Bryan Allbee.

Swift Current Broncos – Trade season truly began on Dec. 27, the day Broncos general manager Mark Lamb locked in a trade with the Red Deer Rebels that shipped rising star Jake DeBrusk to the centre of Alberta. Over the next eight days, nine trades were made in the WHL, and the Broncos were in on two. Swift Current picked up 18-year-old goaltender Taz Burman and overage forward Jamal Watson from the Seattle Thunderbirds in exchange for netminder Landon Bow, as well as defenceman Sahvan Khaidra for centre Cavin Leth in back-to-back trades with the T-Birds.

Moose Jaw Warriors – While the Warriors are still very much in the Eastern Conference playoff season with 45 points through 40 games, that hasn’t stopped general manager Alan Millar from working the trade table for future consideration. The Warriors gave up 18-year-old defenceman Dustin Perrilat, but took back a bigger and younger defenceman in 17-year-old Dean Stewart as well as a fifth round pick in the upcoming draft and a second round selection in 2017.

THE REST OF THE PACK

Spokane Chiefs – The Chiefs helped fuel the Red Deer Rebel empire this trading season, but not without taking their fair share in return. In the trade that shipped Adam Helewka to the Enmax Centrium, Spokane hauled in quite a solid return. Now joining the ranks of the Chiefs are 19-year-old former Rebels captain Wyatt Johnson and prospect Eli Zummack, as well as a second round pick in the upcoming draft and a fifth round selection in 2017.

Brandon Wheat Kings – The Wheat Kings are still vying for top spot in the Eastern Conference, but general manager Kelly McCrimmon is still keeping an eye on the horizon. The Wheat Kings gave up a pair of veteran players in a Jan. 4 trade with the Blades — giving up overage defenceman Colton Waltz and 18-year-old forward Braylon Shmyr — but they received a wide array of potential in return. In the one transaction, Brandon received some veteran presence in 20-year-old defenceman Mitch Wheaton, some potential in 17-year-old blueliner Schael Higson and a second round draft pick in 2017.

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By Ryan McCracken| January 08, 2016
Categories:  Major Junior
Keywords:  WHL

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