WHL marketplace starts to heat up . . . Blades add a defenceman, move out two . . . Chiefs juggle to firm up goaltending


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Wednesday’s action:

No. of trades: 4.

Players: 5.

Bantam draft picks: 4.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 21.

Players: 42.

Bantam draft picks: 32.

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.)


The Saskatoon Blades made a pair of trades on Wednesday, both of them involving defencemen.

The Blades began the day by acquiring D Reece Harsch, 19, from the Seattle SaskatoonThunderbirds for D Zach Ashton, 17, and a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2022 bantam draft.

Later, the Blades sent D Seth Bafaro, 19, to the Vancouver Giants for a fifth-round selection in the 2021 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Harsch was selected by Seattle in the eighth round of the 2014 bantam draft.

In 149 regular-season games with Seattle, he had 15 goals and 32 assists. He also was part of the Thunderbirds’ 2016-17 championship team. This season, Harsch has two goals and eight assists in 28 games.

“Reece is an experienced player we’ve had our eye on for a while,” Saskatoon general manager Colin Priestner said in a news release. “He plays a hard game, has 25 games of playoff experience, and knows what it takes to win a championship in this league.”

Harsch should be available Friday when the Blades entertain the Regina Pats.

Ashton, from Calgary, was a third-round selection by Saskatoon in the 2016 bantam draft. This season, as a freshman, he had one assist in nine games with the Blades. He played the previous two seasons with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes.

This season, Bafaro, who was born in Kamloops, has four goals and three assists in 27 Vancouvergames this season. In 116 career games, 31 with the Tri-City Americans and 85 with the Blades, he has seven goals and 11 assists.

Vancouver general manager Barclay Parneta is quite familiar with Bafaro. Parneta was Tri-City’s head scout and assistant GM when Bafaro began his WHL career with the Americans in 2016-17. The Americans selected him in the third round of the 2015 bantam draft.

Tri-City traded Bafaro to Saskatoon on July 5, 2017, getting back two bantam draft picks — a third-rounder in 2019 and a fifth-rounder in 2020.

The Giants are four games into their Central Division trip, having played in Medicine Hat on Wednesday night. Bafaro wasn’t in the lineup for that one, but should be available on Friday in Lethbridge.

BTW, Vancouver’s roster now includes nine defencemen, including Matt Barberis, who is injured and has only played nine games this season.


The Tri-City Americans have acquired F Nick Bowman, 18, from the Kootenay Ice for a tri-citysixth-round selection in the 2021 WHL bantam draft. . . . Bowman, who is from Sherwood Park, Alta., was acquired by the Ice, along with a sixth-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft, from the Moose Jaw Warriors on Oct. 22, in exchange for forwards Kaeden and Keenan Taphorn, who are twins. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings selected Bowman in the sixth round of the 2015 bantam draft. On May 3, they dealt him to Moose Jaw, with a sixth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, for F Vince Loschiavo. . . . This season, Bowman had one assist in 10 games with the Warriors, then scored twice in 10 games with the Ice before choosing to leave the team. . . . In 137 career WHL games, he has 15 goals and 14 assists. . . . Bowman is playing for the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders and, according to Tri-City general manager Bob Tory, will remain there for the remainder of this season “and will affiliate with the Americans.”


The Spokane Chiefs did some juggling in their goaltending department on Wednesday.

For starters, they announced that Dawson Weatherill won’t play again this season. SpokaneChiefsAccording to a news release, Weatherill “is awaiting surgery.” The Chiefs didn’t specify what kind of surgery.

They then acquired Reece Klassen from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

And, finally, the Chiefs returned Campbell Arnold to the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Arnold got into one game with the Chiefs, stopping 10 of 11 shots.

Klassen, 19, is from Cloverdale, B.C. The Hurricanes signed Klassen in 2017 after he went undrafted. This season, with the Hurricanes, he is 11-4-7, 3.57, .891. In 49 regular-season games over two seasons with the Hurricanes, he is 16-12-10, 3.59, .889.

The Hurricanes moved Klassen after acquiring Liam Hughes, 19, from the Seattle LethbridgeThunderbirds on Tuesday. The Hurricanes now have Hughes and freshman Carl Tetachuk as their two goaltenders.

In Spokane, Klassen will team up with Bailey Brkin as the Chiefs’ goaltenders. Brkin, 19, is 14-7-2, 2.68, .919.

Weatherill, 19, is from Red Deer, and was a second-round pick by the Rebels in the 2014 bantam draft. This season, he was 6-6-2, 4.33, .862 with the Chiefs, but hadn’t played since Dec. 16, which was Spokane’s last game before the Christmas break.

In 102 career appearances — five with the Rebels and 97 with the Chiefs — he is 44-33-14, 3.46, .885. The Chiefs acquired him from Red Deer on Sept. 28, 2016, in a deal that had G Tyson Verhelst go the other way.

The Chiefs are scheduled to entertain the Kamloops Blazers on Friday night.