The Seattle Thunderbirds reached the WHL’s championship final last spring.
Even though they didn’t win, losing to the Edmonton Oil Kings in six games, it would seem that the Thunderbirds liked it there . . . and that they badly want another taste.
If there was any doubt, they erased it on Wednesday by sending nine assets — yes, NINE! — to the Prince Albert Raiders in exchange for D Nolan Allan, a first-round NHL draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks, and F Reese Shaw, a 17-year-old who is playing in New Mexico.
The Thunderbirds gave up F Brayden Dube, 17, D Easton Kovacs, 18, and F Gabe Ludwig, 18, along with six WHL draft picks — a first-rounder in 2023 that originated with the Kelowna Rockets; first- and third-rounders in 2024, a sixth in 2025, a second in 2026 and a conditional sixth in 2026.
This trade came three weeks after Seattle acquired D Luke Prokop, 20, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for first- and third-round picks in the WHL’s 2025 draft and a third-round in 2023. He was a third-round pick by the Nashville Predators in the NHL’s 2020 draft.
Seattle’s defence also includes Kevin Korchinski, 18, of Saskatoon, who was selected by Chicago with the seventh overall pick of the NHL’s 2022 draft. He has three goals and 18 assists in 14 games this season, after putting up 65 points, including 61 assists, in 2021-22.
Allan, who also is from Saskatoon, was the Raiders’ captain. He has four goals and seven assists this season. In 2021-22, he finished with seven goals and 34 assists in 65 games. In 162 career games, he had 14 goals and 49 assists.
“He’s a tough, stay-at-home defenceman,” one WHL insider, who has seen Allan regularly over the last while, told Taking Note, “but it’s a giant price.”
Shaw, from Coon Rapids, Minn., is playing with the NAHL’s New Mexico Ice Wolves in Albuquerque. The Raiders selected him in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2020 draft.
Dube, from Roblin, Man., has two goals and two assists in 14 games as a freshman. Last season, he had 24 goals and 22 assists in 49 regular-season games with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings.
The 6-foot-4 Kovacs is from Delta, B.C. He began his WHL career with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who dealt him to Seattle over the summer. He has one assist in 10 games this season.
Ludwig, from Eagle River, Alaska, has three goals and two assists in 15 games this season. In 93 games over three seasons, he has nine goals and 15 assists.
The Thunderbirds are 12-3-1, with points in three straight (2-0-1). They are five points behind the U.S. Division-leading Portland Winterhawks (14-1-2). The Everett Silvertips (12-6-0) are one point behind Seattle.
Portland has beaten Seattle in both meetings to date, winning 5-1 at home on Nov. 4 and 5-3 in Kent, Wash., one night later.
The Thunderbirds next are scheduled to play on Saturday against visiting Everett.
The Thunderbirds and Winterhawks next will meet on Nov. 25 in Kent and Nov. 30 in Portland.
The Raiders (7-12-2) have won two in a row. They are tied for ninth in the 12-team Eastern Conference.
THINKING OUT LOUD — So if Nolan Allan, a rock-solid defender, is worth three players and six draft picks, how much would it take to pry F Connor Bedard away from the Regina Pats. There apparently isn’t any truth to the rumour that the Kamloops Blazers are thinking about offering up a package that includes a couple of Sandman Hotel and Suites. . . . Remember when WHL insiders and followers would snicker and giggle when teams in the OHL or QMJHL made what seemed like bizarre deals loaded with draft picks. Well, there’ll be no more of that after Tuesday’s Seattle-Prince Albert deal. . . . There is often a price to be paid for pushing all of your chips into the middle of the table. . . . The Saskatoon Blades were the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup tournament. They spent some assets in an attempt to load up. They went 16-51-5 in 2013-14. . . . The Regina Pats, the host team in 2018, went 19-45-4 the following season. . . . The Swift Current Broncos, who won the WHL championship in 2018, were 11-51-6 the next season. . . . Of course, if you check the previous season’s standings, you will discover that the reloading often takes a lot longer than one season. . . . I will close out this day by watching a couple of episodes of Hogan’s Heroes, in memory of Robert Clary, who died Wednesday at 96. Thanks for the laughs, Louis LeBeau.
WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:
F Brendan Lee scored twice and set up another as the host Medicine Hat Tigers dumped the Brandon Wheat Kings, 6-1. . . . The Tigers (6-9-4) have points in three straight (2-0-1). They have won two straight for the first time this season. . . . The Wheat Kings (7-12-2) have lost three in a row and nine of 10. . . . Lee, who has 10 goals, gave his guys a 2-0 lead, on a PP, at 11:39 of the first period, and then made it 3-1 at 7:16 of the second. . . . F Oasiz Wiesblatt helped out with three assists. . . . The Tigers took a 3-1 lead into the third period and promptly scored three times in 75 seconds to take complete control. . . . Medicine Hat held a 37-19 shot advantage, including 15-2 in the second period.
If Saskatoon is to get a new arena, it will be built in the downtown area, just north of the Midtown shopping mall. Saskatoon City Council voted unanimously to approve that site on Tuesday. . . . Bryn Levy of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix wrote: “City director of technical services Dan Willems told council Wednesday’s decision ‘opens the door’ for more detailed funding and design proposals before a final council vote on whether to proceed with a project.” . . . The SaskTel Centre, the home of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, has been open since Feb. 9, 1988. . . . Levy’s story is right here.
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