When you look at where F Zack Andrusiak was two years ago, it’s hard to believe how far he has come.
Andrusiak, who totalled six goals and five assists in 60 WHL games in 2016-17, was traded by the Seattle Thunderbirds to the Everett Silvertips on Tuesday, bringing back a veteran forward, a prospect, two WHL bantam draft selections and a conditional pick.
In the exchange, Seattle added F Sean Richards, 20, F Brendan Williamson, 16, a second-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft, a third-rounder in 2021, and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2022.
Andrusiak, 20, has 124 points, including 69 goals, in 173 regular-season games.
Andrusiak, a native of Yorkton, Sask., began his WHL career by going pointless in seven games with the Tri-City Americans in 2014-15. He split 2015-16 between the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers (two assists in 15 games) and the junior B Kamloops Storm (32 goals and 19 assists in 32 games).
Two seasons ago, he managed a goal and an assist in eight games with the Prince Albert Raiders, who then dealt him to Seattle, along with a third-round pick in 2018, for F Cavin Leth. Andrusiak proceeded to score five goals and add four assists in 52 games with the Thunderbirds.
Andrusiak took flight last season, scoring 36 goals and earning 38 assists in 72 games.
This season, he has 27 goals and 12 assists in 34 games, including six goals in his past two games, both against the Portland Winterhawks.
“Zack has been having a very good (season) for us, which made making this trade difficult,” Bil La Forge, Seattle’s first-year general manager, said in a news release. Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, La Forge had been with Everett since 2008, most recently as director of player personnel. That no doubt helped in making a deal with the arch-rival Silvertips.
In a news release, Garry Davidson, Everett’s general manager, said: “We set a goal leading up to the trade deadline to make a significant offensive upgrade for our club and Zack Andrusiak was a player we’ve targeted for a while who meets our needs.
“He’s a finisher and respected as a proven goal scorer in the WHL. His capabilities to produce against familiar competition within our division and experience two years ago on a team that won a WHL championship are valuable elements we’re excited to add to a group we’re already very proud of.”
Andrusiak is likely to make his Everett debut this weekend in a home-and-home series with Tri-City. They’ll play in Kennewick, Wash., on Friday and in Everett on Saturday. (The really good news for Andrusiak is that, while Seattle begins its East Division swing this week, Everett made that trip in October.)
Andrusiak’s arrival should help the Silvertips ride out an injury to veteran F Riley Sutter, who is listed as week-to-week. At the same time, F Akash Bains is to have probable season-ending surgery on an undisclosed injury.
Sutter, 19, has 40 points, including a team-leading 26 assists, in 38 games. Bains, also 19, has five goals and four assists in 25 games.
The Thunderbirds get back Richards, who has 10 goals and eight assists in 27 games. In 212 career games, he has 41 goals and 67 assists. He began his WHL career by playing 54 games with the Regina Pats, who had listed him. The Pats traded Richards and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft to Everett for F Dawson Leedahl and the rights to F Tyson Jost, who went to the U of North Dakota, then joined the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.
However, Richards is six games into an eight-game suspension he incurred after taking a boarding major and game misconduct in a game against host Seattle on Dec. 8. On the play in question, he hit D Loeden Schaufler, who now is a teammate, but according to the WHL’s Dec. 28 roster report remains out week-to-week with an “upper-body injury.”
Earlier this season, Richards sat out a five-game suspension; last season, he drew four- and two-game suspensions.
Richards, from St. Alberta, Alta., will be eligible to return to play on Jan. 8 when the Thunderbirds are to meet the Blades in Saskatoon. He will miss the first two games of Seattle’s East Division trip — against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday and Regina on Sunday.
Williamson, 16, is from Chilliwack, B.C. An undrafted list player, he hasn’t signed a WHL contract. In 24 games with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, he has 10 goals and 26 assists. His 36 points have him tied for third in the league’s scoring race.
Seattle now has three selections in the second round of the 2018 draft — its own, one that originated with Regina and now Everett’s. Seattle landed Regina’s second-round pick as part of deal that had D Aaron Hyman go to the Pats.
Earlier in the day, the Seattle Thunderbirds signalled that something more might be in the works when they added G Roddy Ross to their roster.
The Thunderbirds announced his signing on Tuesday and immediately added the 18-year-old, who is from Meadow Lake, Sask., to their roster.
Later in the day, Seattle dealt G Liam Hughes, 19, and an eighth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Keltie Jeri-Leon, who will turn 19 on Jan. 19, F Michael Horon, 17, and a 2019 fourth-round bantam draft pick.
Hughes becomes one of three goaltenders on Lethbridge’s roster, joining sophomore Reece Klassen, 19, and freshman Carl Tetachuk, 17, who was scratched from a Saturday game with an undisclosed injury, but was back on the bench Sunday night.
In 26 games, Klassen is 11-4-7, 3.57, .891. Tetachuk has gotten into 12 games, going 7-5-0, 3.49, .892.
Hughes, from Kelowna, was selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the seventh round of the 2014 bantam draft. He was traded to Seattle for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. This season, he is 10-16-3, 3.67, .899 in 29 games with Seattle. Last season, Hughes got into 36 games with the Thunderbirds, going 16-12-6, 3.15, .909.
Hughes could be available to play tonight when the Hurricanes visit the Red Deer Rebels. The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one in front of Red Deer.
Jeri-Leon, also from Kelowna, joins his fourth WHL team, having previously played for the Tri-City Americans and Kamloops Blazers. This season, he has five goals and nine assists in 30 games. In 130 career games, he has 15 goals and 17 assists.
Horon, 17, is from Lethbridge. He was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the ninth round of the 2016 bantam draft. At the time, Seattle general manager Bill La Forge was Everett’s director of player personnel. The Hurricanes acquired Horon for a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft on Jan. 10 and signed him to a WHL contract.
Horon is playing with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. He is leading the Alberta Midget Hockey League with 50 points, including 25 goals.
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Ross joins freshman Cole Schwebius, 17, as Seattle’s two goaltenders.
Schwebius, from Kelowna, is 1-3-1, 3.27, .899 in six appearances.
Ross had been playing with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks (8-5-5, 2.93, .921). Last season, he was an all-star with the midget AAA Tisdale, Sask., Trojans.
Ross will be available on Friday when Seattle opens its six-game East Division swing in Brandon.
The Thunderbirds (11-19-4) are fifth in the U.S. Division, 14 points behind the fourth-place Americans. Seattle also is five points behind the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot.
COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE
(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)
No. of trades: 2.
Bantam draft picks: 4.
Conditional draft picks: 1.
Total deals (since Nov. 26):
No. of trades: 17.
Bantam draft picks: 28.
Conditional draft picks: 10.
(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)
F Dillon Hamaliuk of the Seattle Thunderbirds isn’t expected to play again this season. According to a Tuesday afternoon tweet from Andy Eide, who covers the team for 710 ESPN, the Thunderbirds will show Hamaliuk as “out for remainder of season” when the WHL issues its weekly roster report. . . . Hamaliuk was injured on Saturday night when he was hit by D Matthew Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks. Quigley was given a kneeing major and game misconduct and has since been handed a TBD suspension. . . . Hamaliuk, 18, has 11 goals and 15 assists in 31 games. Last season, he finished with 15 goals and 24 assists in 72 games.
For the second weekend in a row since returning from the Christmas break, the Kamloops Blazers are to play three games in fewer than 48 hours.
Last weekend, the Blazers went 2-1-0, beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 3-2 in OT, on Dec. 28; losing 2-1 in Kelowna on Dec. 29; and edging the visiting Prince George Cougars, 2-1, on Sunday.
However, this weekend presents the Blazers with one of those punishing quirks that the WHL seems unable to get out of its schedule.
The Blazers are scheduled to meet the Chiefs in Spokane on Friday night. Kamloops will ride the bus home right after that game, because it is to entertain the Rockets on Saturday night. After that game, it’ll be right back on the bus for the Blazers because they are to meet the Silvertips in Everett on Sunday in a game that has a 4:05 p.m. start time.
Scheduling like that makes one wonder if darts and a Wheel-of-Fortune wheel are part of the process.
It’s true! The NHL is coming to Regina next season.
The Winnipeg Jets will be the host team for a game with the Calgary Flames that is to be played at Mosaic Stadium, the home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, on Oct. 26.
There is more on the story right here.
Russian F Oleg Saprykin, who played two seasons in the WHL, ended up in jail when he allegedly became unruly on a flight from Sochi to Moscow. Saprykin, 37, apparently was upset when a flight attendant stopped serving him booze. . . . Saprykin played with the Seattle Thunderbirds (1998-2000) before going on to play 325 games in the NHL. . . . There’s more right here.
The SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos have added Troy Smith to their staff as an assistant coach at least for the rest of this season. Smith, 40, was in his second season as head coach of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit when he was fired on Nov. 18. . . . He had coached in the OHL since 2006-07. . . . In Humboldt, Smith will work alongside Scott Barney, who took over as interim head coach last week after the departure of general manager/head coach Nathan Oystrick. . . . The Broncos (21-13-3) are third in the four-team Global Ag Risk Solutions Division, two points out of second and five from first. However, they are 2-7-1 in their past 10 outings.
WHL players at the World Junior Championship:
Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).
Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).
Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).
Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).
Prince Albert — G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason (Canada).
Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).
Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).
Spokane — F Jared Anderson-Dolan, D Ty Smith (Canada); D Filip Kral (Czech Republic).
Tri-City — F Krystof Hrabik (Czech Republic).
Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).
Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).
The Calgary Hitmen opened a 5-1 lead midway through the second period and went on to score a 6-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals in a game played on Tuesday afternoon. . . . Calgary (17-16-4) has won two straight. It now is in possession of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Victoria (18-15-1) is 2-2-0 on its six-game Central Division tour. It remains tied with the Kelowna Rockets for second in the B.C. Division. . . . The Royals were playing their fourth game in five days and their second in fewer than 24 hours. While the Hitmen were enjoying a quite New Year’s eve, the Hitmen were beating the Kootenay Ice, 4-3 in OT, on Monday in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . F James Malm (16) and F Carson Focht gave Calgary a 2-0 first period lead, with Victoria F Kaid Oliver (17) halving the deficit at 18:40. . . . The Hitmen took control with three second-period PP goals — from F Mark Kastelic, at 0:25; Focht (9), at 9:58; and F Luke Coleman (9), at 10:17. . . . F Brandon Cutler (8), at 13)1 of the second, and F Dante Hannoun (19), at 1:11 of the third, got Victoria two within two goals, but Calgary F Kaden Elder (15) put it away with an empty-netter at 19:41. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 23 shots for the Hitmen. F Tarun Fizen wasn’t able to beat him on a first-period penalty shot. . . . Calgary was 3-5 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3.
The Saskatoon Blades held a 46-19 edge in shots as they beat the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 5-2. . . . Saskatoon (23-11-5) has won two in a row. It is second in the East Division, five points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold five games in hand. . . . Swift Current (7-27-3) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . The Blades, who held period leads of 1-0 and 2-1, outshot the Broncos 10-7, 16-6 and 20-6 by period. . . . F Max Gerlach (22), on a PP, put the home side ahead at 13:33 of the first period. . . . F Josh Paterson (12) made it 2-0 at 2:31 of the second. . . . D Billy Sowa, with his second career goal and second in two games, got the Broncos on the scoreboard at 19:46. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 4-2 on third-period goals from F Chase Wouters (7), at 8:58, and F Kirby Dash (16), at 13:13. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (13) pulled the Broncos within two at 15:05, but F Riley McKay (7) made it 5-2 at 18:58. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who had a goal and three assists when the Blades won 9-3 in Swift Current on Sunday, had two assists. . . . Broncos G Joel Hofer stopped 41 shots, 24 more than Nolan Maier of the Blades.
The Edmonton Oil Kings scored two first-period goals and went on to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Edmonton (21-12-7) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). It leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes and five on the Red Deer Rebels. Lethbridge has four games in hand on Edmonton, while Red Deer has five. . . . Vancouver (23-10-2) is 1-2-0 on a six-game Central Division trip. . . . F Carter Souch (7) got Edmonton started at 1:29 of the opening period, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (24) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 12:45. . . . D Bowen Byram (10) scored for the Giants, on a PP, at 12:52 of the second. . . . F David Kope (8) scored Edmonton’s other goal, at 13:10 of the second. . . . Vancouver won 32 of 51 faceoffs and held a 35-17 edge in shots. . . . The Oil Kings got a solid game from G Dylan Myskiw, with 34 saves. . . . F Dylan Guenther, the first overall selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft, is back with the Oil Kings, who were without seven players, including three forwards. Despite being 15, Guenther has played in eight games — he has three goals and an assist — with the Oil Kings. A player his age is limited to five games while his club team’s season is in progress, unless brought up under emergency conditions. . . . Guenther has 38 points, 20 of them goals, in 18 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. . . . The Oil Kings scratched G Boston Bilous, D Jacson Alexander, whose season is over, D Matt Robertson, D Will Warm, F Quinn Benjafield, F Jake Neighbours and F Brett Kemp.
The Prince Albert Raiders erased a 3-2 deficit in the last half of the third period to beat the Pats, 5-3, in Regina. . . . Prince Albert (34-3-1) had dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Pats on Sunday night. The Raiders now are 5-1-0 in the season series. . . . Regina (12-25-1) had won its previous three games. . . . The Raiders took a 1-0 lead 19 seconds into the second period as F Parker Kelly scored while shorthanded. . . . The Raiders have scored a WHL-leading 18 times while shorthanded; the Red Deer Rebels are second, with eight. . . . F Robbie Holmes (8) pulled Regina into a tie at 18:37. . . . The teams combined for six third-period goals. . . . F Cole Fonstad gave the Raiders a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 4:04. . . . Regina tied it 14 seconds later when D Liam Schioler (3) scored, and took the lead at 5:40 on a goal by F Riley Krane (7). . . . However, the Raiders scored the game’s last three goals. F Sean Montgomery (17) tied it at 11:04. D Sergei Sapego (7) got the winner, on a PP, at 15:39. Kelly (17) got the empty-netter, at 19:59. . . . The Raiders outshot their hosts, 56-23. By periods, it was 18-4, 15-12 and 23-7. . . . Yes, Regina G Max Paddock stood tall in this one. . . . Raiders G Brett Balas, a third-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, stopped 20 shots to win his first WHL start. . . . Parker added an assist to his two goals, while Montgomery had two helpers. . . . F Noah Gregor drew three assists for the Raiders. He has 53 points, including 29 assists, in 33 games. He has 17 points, 10 of them goals, in a seven-game point streak.