WHEELING AND DEALING …
NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 37
BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 45
CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 5
THE DEADLINE: Wednesday, Jan. 10 (2 p.m. PT, 3 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. CT)
THE DEAL: The Regina Pats acquire D Libor Hajek, 19, from the Saskatoon Blades for D Dawson Davidson, 19, F Tristen Robins, 16, and a first-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.
THE NUMBERS: Interestingly, the Blades and Pats are tied for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots. They are 10 points behind third-place Brandon in the East Division and seven points ahead of Prince Albert in the wild-card chase. . . . The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Hajek has eight goals and 17 assists in 33 games with the Blades this season. In 167 games, all with the Blades, he has 15 goals and 62 assists. . . . Davidson, 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, has nine goals and 28 assists in 83 games with Regina after being acquired from the Kamloops Blazers. In 207 career WHL games, he has 100 points, including 21 goals. This season, he has seven goals and 20 assists in 43 games. . . . Robins plays at the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg, where he has 10 goals and 12 assists in 17 games for the midget prep team in the CSSHL.
THE INFO: The Pats and Blades next play each other on Jan. 20 in Saskatoon. . . . Hajek, an alternate captain with the Blades, played well for his native Czech Republic in the World Junior Championship in Buffalo. He had a goal and seven assists in seven games as the Czechs placed fourth. He was a second-round pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL’s 2016 draft and has signed an NHL contract. . . . The Pats acquired Davidson, who is from Moosomin, Sask., from the Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 27, 2016. Kamloops had picked him in the third round of the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Robins is the son of former WHL G Trevor Robins, who played three seasons (1989-92) with the Blades and one (1992-93) with Brandon. Tristen was a fourth-round pick by the Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . The acquisition of Hajek left Regina with three imports, one over the limit, so it placed Russian D Egor Zamula, 17, on waivers. He has seven assists in 38 games as a freshman. . . . Finnish F Emil Oksanen, 19, is Regina’s other import.
WHY: The Pats are of the opinion that they needed another top-end defenceman, even after acquiring Cale Fleury from the Kootenay Ice on Nov. 13. They are hoping Hajek fills that role. . . . The Blades add a solid defenceman who may return as a 20-year-old and a prospect who scored 51 goals in bantam AAA last season in Winnipeg. Saskatoon also gets a first-round draft pick in 2019, the draft that follows the Pats’ Memorial Cup-hosting season. As Blades GM Colin Priestner put it in a news release: “If history is an indicator, Regina’s first-round pick next year has a serious chance of being a lottery pick as Memorial Cup host teams often go through a tough phase. So to have that first pick next year . . . we feel that gives us a good chance at selecting a star player.”
THE DEAL: The Kootenay Ice acquired G Matt Berlin, 19, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.
THE NUMBERS: Berlin made 24 appearances with the Thunderbirds this season, going 12-7-3, 3.40, .893, with one shutout. . . . Last season, Berlin was 7-2-2, 2.82, .902 in helping the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship. . . . In 44 career appearances, seven with Spokane and 37 with Seattle, Berlin is 20-10-7, 3.33, .891.
THE INFO: Berlin joins Duncan McGovern, 17, as the Ice’s goaltenders. . . . Berlin was a seventh-round pick by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Seattle is left with three goaltenders on its roster, in Liam Hughes, 18, who has made four straight starts, Dorrin Luding, 18, and Carl Stankowski, 17. However, Stankowski has yet to play this season due to hip problems. . . . The Thunderbirds had been without a fifth-round pick, having dealt their 2018 and 2019 fifth-rounders to the Ice for F Noah Philp on Sept. 11.
WHY: Seattle is able to get a draft pick for a player who likely wouldn’t be on its roster next season. . . . The Ice, meanwhile, continues its search for a goaltender. Since May 24, Ice general manager Matt Cockell has traded for five goaltenders — Mario Petit (Everett), Bailey Brkin (Swift Current), Kurtis Chapman (Regina), McGovern (Medicine Hat) and Berlin.
THE DEAL: The Spokane Chiefs acquired G Bailey Brkin, 18, from the Kootenay Ice for an eight-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.
THE NUMBERS: In 23 appearances with the Ice, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Brkin, a freshman, was 7-12-2, 4.51, .874.
THE INFO: The native of Sherwood Park, Alta., played last season with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs (45 games, 5.19, .890). . . . He won’t be joining the Chiefs, at least not right away; instead, he will play for the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. . . . Brkin was a list player with the Swift Current Broncos, who dealt him to Kootenay earlier this season.
WHY: With Brkin having some WHL experience, the Chiefs added some depth to the organization’s goaltending. They also have Dawson Weatherill (12-9-3, 3.23, .888) and Donovan Buskey (8-6-0, 3.51, .874) on their roster. On Monday, they brought back Arnold Campbell, 15, and he is expected to be in Kamloops on Tuesday when the Chiefs meet the Blazers. Arnold was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Arnold, from Nanaimo, B.C., plays at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . . You are free to specualte if Weatherill or Buskey is injured, or if another move is in the works.
THE DEAL: The Portland Winterhawks acquired F Lukus MacKenzie, 18, from the Red Deer Rebels for a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.
THE NUMBERS: This season, in 30 games — 13 with the Saskatoon Blades and 17 with Red Deer — the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has eight assists. In 138 career games, he has eight goals and 20 assists.
THE INFO: The Rebels dropped the Calgarian from their roster on Thursday and he joined the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. He was pointless in one game with the Oilers. . . . Saskatoon selected him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.
WHY: The Winterhawks obviously wanted to add some toughness to their lineup because MacKenzie was one of the Eastern Conference’s toughest players when he was on a roster. . . . He has 163 penalty minutes in his WHL career, but don’t forget that the WHL chooses not to include some penalties, such as misconducts and game misconducts, in its penalty totals.
THE DEAL: The Vancouver Giants acquired D Brennan Riddle, 20, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Brad Morrison, who turned 21 on Jan. 4.
THE NUMBERS: Riddle has a goal and five assists in 37 games this season. In 216 career games, he has five goals and 29 assists. . . . This season, Morrison has 11 goals and 24 assists in 42 games with the Giants. In 302 career regular-season games, split between Vancouver and the Prince George Cougars, he has 96 goals and 127 assists.
THE INFO: Lethbridge acquired Riddle, who is from Balgonie, Sask., from the Prince Albert Raiders early last season. This season, Riddle was an alternate captain in Lethbridge. The Calgary Hitmen selected him in the first round of the 2012 bantam draft. He never played for the Hitmen, who dealt him to Lethbridge on Jan. 7, 2014. . . . Morrison was selected by the Prince George Cougars with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 bantam draft. He is from Prince George. The Giants acquired him from the Cougars on June 2. The New York Rangers selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2015 draft, but he was never signed. Prior to this NHL season, he was in the Calgary Flames’ rookie camp.
WHY: It isn’t often that WHL teams are involved in a straight-up swap of two 20-year-olds, but that’s the case here. After three seasons out of the playoffs, Vancouver finds itself in contention for top spot in the Western Conference and wants to tighten up defensively. . . . The Hurricanes want more offence and should get that from Morrison and linemates. Morrison is a tremendous playmaker.
THE DEAL: The Calgary Hitmen acquired G Nick Sanders, 19, from the Prince Albert Raiders for a sixth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.
THE NUMBERS: The 6-foot-2 Sanders was 8-13-5, 3.91, .888 in 38 appearances over two seasons with the Raiders. He got into four games with the Raiders this season (0-1-1, 4.89, .854) before being dropped from their roster. He has been with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats (6-5-2, 2.95, .915). . . . In 67 career games, split between the Raiders and Tri-City Americans, he is 19-22-6, 3.61, .890.
THE INFO: The Raiders acquired Sanders, who is from Calgary, from Tri-City on Oct. 13, 2016. . . . Bothered by hip issues, Sanders had offseason surgery and was late starting training camp with the Raiders. . . . He was selected by the Americans in the sixth round of the 2013 bantam draft.
WHY: The Hitmen have started a major rebuilding program, so are looking for competition at all positions. They are hoping Sanders can provide that among the goaltenders this season, and then compete for a 20-year-old spot prior to next season. . . . Also on the Calgary roster are Nick Schneider, 20, and Matthew Armitage, 18. Schneider is the starter, at 13-16-6, 3.51, .888. Armitage, a freshman, is 0-6-0, 3.70, .878.
THE DEAL: The Kelowna Rockets acquired F Ryan Bowen, 19, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for an eight-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft.
THE NUMBERS: This season, Bowen had one goal and five assists in 13 games with the Hurricanes. In 143 career games, between the Moose Jaw Warriors and Lethbridge, he has 21 goals and 36 assists.
THE INFO: Bowen was on Lethbridge’s suspended list after refusing an earlier trade to an unnamed team. From Chilliwack, he now is with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, although he has yet to play a game with them. . . . Bowen was a fifth-round pick by Moose Jaw in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . His younger brother, Ethan, a forward, was a second-round pick by Kelowna in the 2017 bantam draft. He hasn’t signed with the Rockets, choosing instead to commit to the U of North Dakota for 2020-21.
WHY: The Rockets rolled the dice, giving up a late draft pick in the hopes that they will be able to convince Ryan to join them. Of course, should that happen, it might allow them to get a foot in the door in terms of trying to get Ethan signed. . . . “We’re working to see if we can get (Ryan) here, but it looks like he may play junior A this (season),” Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and GM, said in a news release. “But he’s a prospect that we will certainly have as an affiliate player and we’ll try to get him in eventually.”