Thunderbirds pay steep price for defender . . . Give up three players, six picks . . . Lee helps Tigers past Wheat Kings

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 Seattlewould 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.



F Brendan Lee scored twice and set up another as the host Medicine Hat Tigers MedicineHatdumped 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 Saskatoonnorth 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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Giants get forward from Hurricanes. . . . Seattle signs second first-round pick. . . . QMJHL teams to meet in Memorial Cup final for only second time


F Taylor Vause (Swift Current, 2007-12) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, in 49 games, he had 16 goals and 29 assists. In the playoffs, he added six goals and 14 assists in 18 games. He led the league in playoff assists and points. . . .

F Ty Morris (Swift Current, Vancouver, Red Deer, 2003-05) has signed a one-year contract extension with Peiting (Germany, Oberliga). This season, he had 19 goals and 53 assists in 47 games. He is preparing to play his 14th season in Germany.


The Vancouver Giants have acquired F Jackson Shepard from the Lethbridge Hurricanes Vancouverin exchange for a third-round selection in the 2021 WHL bantam draft. . . . Shepard, 19, is from North Vancouver. . . . The Kamloops Blazers selected him with the 22nd pick in the 2015 bantam draft. The Blazers dealt him to Lethbridge on July 31, getting back F Zane Franklin, 19 at the time, and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. . . . This season, Shepard had five goals and 17 assists in 66 games. In 181 regular-season games, he has 17 goals and 39 assists. . . . F Cole Shepard, Jackson’s younger brother, was selected by the Giants in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. Cole, 17, just completed his first season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. He has committed to attend Harvard and play for the Crimson in 2021-22.

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Two more first-round picks from the 2019 bantam draft have signed WHL contracts. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed D Kevin Korchinski, who was the 10th-overall selection. From Saskatoon, he had 10 goals and 37 assists in 31 regular-season games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Generals, then added five goals and five assists in five playoff games. . . . Korchinski was the second of two first-round picks by the Thunderbirds. They selected F Jordan Gustafson of Ardrossan, Alta., with the eighth pick and signed him on Wednesday. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed F Oasiz Wiesblatt, who is from Calgary. He was the 12th-overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Wiesblatt had 19 goals and 36 assists in 28 regular-season games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons this season. He added six goals and seven assists in seven playoff games. . . .

Six of the 22 first-round selections now have signed WHL contracts.

The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Grady Lane, 16, to a WHL contract. . . . Lane, from Virden, Man., was an eighth-round selection by the Chiefs in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had five goals and seven assists in 32 games with the midget AAA Southwest Cougars. . . . Lane will attend the Chiefs’ 2019 training camp after sitting out the 2018 camp due to injury.

The two QMJHL entries — the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and Halifax Mooseheads — will 2019MCmeet in the final of the four-team Memorial Cup tournament on Sunday in Halifax. . . . The QMJHL-champion Huskies advanced to the final with a 6-4 victory over the OHL-champion Guelph Storm on Friday night. . . . The Mooseheads received a bye to the final following a 5-4 loss to the Huskies on Wednesday night. Those three teams all were 2-1 in the round-robin and the Mooseheads advanced via the tiebreaker formula. . . . The WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders went home early after going 0-3. . . . It is perhaps only fitting that the Huskies and Mooseheads are in the final as the QMJHL is celebrating its 50th anniversary season. . . . This will be the second time in the Memorial Cup’s history that two QMJHL teams have met in the final. In 2006, the Quebec Remparts beat the host Moncton Wildcats, 6-2. . . . Last night, the Huskies and Storm were tied, 3-3, after the second period. F Felix Bibeau broke the tie, giving the Huskies a 4-3 lead at 5:20 of the third period, then made it 5-3 at 12:33. . . . Kyle Cicerella of The Canadian Press has a game story right here.

Carter Zalluski, a bantam draft pick of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, died on Sunday. He was 24. According to an obituary, he “passed away suddenly.” . . . The Oil Kings selected Zalluski in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2010 bantam draft. He never did play in the WHL. . . . A complete obituary is right here.


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