Fans of the Kamloops Blazers have been waiting for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament’s host team to make an impact on the trade front. Well, the Blazers did that on Monday, but those fans are going to have to wait until mid- to late-January to see F Jakub Demek in action. . . . Demek, 19, was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a possible four WHL draft picks. However, he underwent shoulder surgery after the 2022 World Junior Championshp, has only just returned to skating, and isn’t expect to play in a game for at least two more months. . . .
The Blazers handed over a 2023 first-round pick that originated with the Regina Pats, and a fourth-rounder in 2026. Also going to Edmonton were two conditional selections — a second in 2024 and a third in 2026. . . . The second is conditional on Demek playing an undisclosed number of games with the Blazers. . . . The third is conditional on his returning to the WHL as a 20-year-old. . . .
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Demek, a Slovak, had 20 goals and 34 assists in 55 regular-season games with Edmonton last season. In 19 playoff games, he added five goals and 12 assists. . . . The Vegas Golden Knights hold his NHL rights, having taken him in the fourth-round of the 2021 draft. . . . Demek played for Slovakia in the 2022 WJC in Edmonton in August, earning one assist in four games. . . .
The Blazers now hold the CHL rights to three imports — Demek, Czech G Michael Schnattinger and Finnish D Aapo Sarell, the latter two in their first WHL seasons. Each CHL team is allowed to have two imports on its roster. With the WHL trade deadline set for Jan. 10, the Blazers — if they are to activate Demek — would have to get down to two on Jan. 8. . . .
Andrew Peard, the radio voice of the Edmonton Oil Kings, points out that the WHL’s defending champions, clearly in rebuilding mode, have added a possible eight draft picks in the past week (the asterisks denote conditional picks) . . .
2 — 1st round picks (2023, 2025)
1 — 2nd round pick (2024*)
3 — 3rd round picks (2023, 2025, 2026*)
1 — 4th round pick (2026)
1 — 7th round pick (2024*)
The other big deal, of course, had the Seattle Thunderbirds coughing up three draft picks for D Luke Prokop. Seattle gave up a first-rounder in 2025, a third in 2023 and a third in 2025.
Edmonton also sent F Shea Van Olm to Kamloops for a conditional seventh-rounder in 2024.
It’s worth remembering, too, that Edmonton’s selling off of players from the championship roster actually began on Aug. 9 when F Jalen Luypen, 20, was traded to the Tri-City Americans. The Americans also got two conditional draft picks in the exchange — a fifth in 2024 and a second in 2026. In return, the Oil Kings picked up F Rhett Melnyk, 18, D Bryson Andregg, 19, and a conditional second-rounder in the 2023 draft. (More on Luypen further down.)
Don’t forget, too, that Edmonton doesn’t have its own first- or second-round picks in the 2023 draft, having dealt those away while loading up for its 2021-22 championship run.
And don’t forget, too, that two other players who part of Edmonton’s championship run last season still could end up back in the WHL. Should G Sebastian Cossa, 20, and/or F Dylan Guenther, 19, end up back in Edmonton, the Oil Kings would be able to add even more draft picks to their collection. . . . Cossa, a first-round selection by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2021 draft, has seen playing time with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to this point in the season. . . . Guenther, a first-round pick by the Arizona Coyotes in 2021, has three goals and four assists in 14 NHL games this season.
Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — ‘See No Covid, Hear No Covid’ strategy working about as well as expected.
TUESDAY IN THE WHL:
The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first two goals and went on to beat the host Moose Jaw Warriors, 2-1. . . . Prince Albert (7-12-2) has won two in a row. . . . Moose Jaw (11-8-0) has lost two straight. . . . F Carson Latimer (7) gave the Raiders a 2-0 lead at 5:14 of the second period. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (4) got the Warriors to within a goal, on a PP, at 17:33. . . . G Max Hildebrand earned the victory with 17 saves. . . . F Ryder Korczak, who was returned to the Warriors by the NHL’s New York Rangers on Monday, didn’t play. . . .
The host Swift Current Broncos erased a 1-0 deficit with three second-period goals as they beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-2. . . . The Broncos improved to 9-9-0, while Brandon (7-11-2) lost its second straight game. . . . F Josh Davies (5) pulled the Broncos into a 1-1 tie at 1:07 of the second period as he scored while shorthanded. . . . Brandon has allowed a WHL-leading eight shorties this season. . . . D Connor Hvidston (6), who also had two assists, and F Mathew Ward (8), with his 100th career point, also scored for the Broncos in the second period. . . . Ward has 36 goals and 64 assists in 106 regular-season games. . . . The Broncos got 37 stops from G Gage Alexander. . . .
The Red Deer Rebels got back on the winning track with a 4-1 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . The Rebels (16-3-1) had lost four in a row (0-3-1) after opening the season with a 15-game winning streak. . . . The Oil Kings (2-17-1) have lost five in a row. . . . The Rebels scored three PP goals, two of them from F Kalan Lind (4). . . . F Jayden Grubbe added a goal (5) and two assist, with D Christoffer Sedoff, who reached 100 career points, drawing three assists. . . . Red Deer was 3-7 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-11. . . . The Oil Kings were without F Jaxsen Wiebe, who started serving a seven-game suspension. He was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a game at Saskatoon on Saturday. He also is a repeat offender, having been given a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline following a game in Saskatoon on Oct. 23. . . . That is the longest suspension handed out by the WHL since Feb. 15, 2020, when F Ryley Appelt of the Kamloops Blazers got eight games after taking a checking-from-behind major against the Victoria Royals.
In Portland, the Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the Calgary Hitmen, 4-1. . . . Portland (14-1-2) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . Calgary (10-5-2) had won its previous seven games. . . . The Hitmen now are 2-1-0 on their U.S. Division trip. . . . F Kyle Chyzowski (7) scored twice for Portland. . . . G Dante Giannuzzi stopped 33 shots in earning the victory over Brayden Peters, who had 36 saves.
Jim Playfair, a former NHL player and coach, has been spending time on the ice with the Prince George Cougars of late. He also has helped out as an eye in the sky at some games. “He comes in for practice and helps out with our team play,” Mark Lamb, the Cougars’ general manager and head coach, tells Hartley Miller on his podcast — Hartley’s Cat Scan — that will be released today. “It’s been a real joy having him around, all that experience with our younger coaches, with Carter Rigby and Josh Dixon, and picking his brain. I think he’s really helped our organization.” . . . Playfair, 58, is from Fort St. James, B.C. . . .
The NHL’s New York Rangers have returned F Ryder Korczak, 20, to the Moose Jaw Warriors. Korczak, who was selected by the Rangers in the third round of the NHL’s 2021 draft, was pointless in in five games with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. . . . Last season, he had 79 points, including 25 goals, in 68 games with the Warriors. . . . The Warriors now are carrying four 20-year-olds and have two weeks to get down to three. The other 20s are F Riley Ginnell, D Cole Jordan and G Connor Ungar. . . . Korczak wasn’t in uniform Tuesday night as the Warriors dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . .
The Tri-City Americans lost a defenceman on Tuesday when Ian Ferguson, a 20-year-old from Missouri City, Texas, announced his retirement from hockey. . . . He was in his fourth season with the Americans. . . . Ferguson had two goals and three assists in 16 games this season. In 127 regular season games, he had four goals and 11 assists. . . . The move leaves the Americans with F Reese Belton and F Ethan Ernst as their 20s. . . . The move also creates room for the Americans to add F Jalen Luypen, 20, to their roster from the long-term injury list. . . . The Americans acquired Luypen from Edmonton on Aug. 9, after he had spent four seasons with the Oil Kings. However, he underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season and has yet to return to game action. . . . Luypen, a seventh-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL’s 2021 draft, had 64 points, including 29 goals, last season. In 200 regular-season games with the Oil Kings, he put up 61 goals and 63 assists. . . . At present, Luypen is in Chicago where the Blackhawks’ medical staff is looking things over. . . .
The Victoria Royals have received a commitment from Czech F Robin Sapousek, although they don’t know when he will make his debut. The Royals grabbed his rights in the CHL’s 2022 import draft. Sapousek, 18, has been playing with HC Karlovy Vary’s U20 side, putting up nine goals and nine assists in 11 games. He also is pointless in seven games with HC Energy Karlovy Vary in the Czech Extraliga. . . . From a news release: “The precise date of Sapousek’s arrival in Victoria and his first game in a Royals uniform this season will be announced in the near future.” . . .
The OHL’s Niagara IceDogs fired head coach Daniel Fitzgerald on Monday. They brought in Jeff Angelidis as interim head coach. He has been coaching with the OJHL’s Brantford 99ers. . . . The IceDogs came out of the weekend with a 4-10-3 record, leaving them 19th in the 20-team league. . . . Fitzgerald was named the IceDogs’ head coach on July 8. He had spent the previous four seasons as the head coach of the 99ers, who are owned by Darren DeDobbelaer, who purchased the IceDogs in July. . . .
The Kam River Fighting Walleye of the Superior International Junior Hockey League have signed Geoff Walker as their new head coach. Walker signed a contract that runs through the 2023-24 season. . . . Kam River had fired head coach Matt Valley late last month, despite the team being in first place. At the time, management said it was in need of a full-time coach. . . . Walker spent the previous four seasons as the head coach of the SIJHL’s Red Lake Miners, then left to coach in Sweden after 2021-22. That apparently didn’t work out.
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