Western Hockey League players aren’t much different from fans in that they can’t help but check for the latest news come the annual trade deadline.
This year’s deadline comes today at 1 p.m. CT, and veteran forward Chad Robinson admits the dealings are a hot topic of conversation in the Brandon Wheat Kings’ locker-room.
"Lots of guys have been following it and we’ve been talking about it quite a bit; that’s no secret," the 20-year-old centre from Minnedosa said. "But it keeps you on your toes."
While there haven’t been any blockbusters on par with the Brayden Schenn and Cody Eakin megadeals from 2011, this year’s deadline has already been the busiest in a few years, with 23 swaps completed since the Christmas trade moratorium — the most since 2010.
Robinson knows what it’s like to be traded, although his move to the Wheat Kings from the Red Deer Rebels came in Oct. 2012, not at the deadline. He said the annual uncertainty surrounding Jan. 10 doesn’t both him much, but it’s not exactly stress-free, either.
"It’s always in the back of your mind, and whenever the phone goes off, you’re always cringing little bit," Robinson said.
Among those finding new homes on Wednesday was former Wheat Kings goaltender Corbin Boes, who was sent by the Lethbridge Hurricanes to the team that originally drafted him, the Portland Winterhawks. Boes, who was traded to the Hurricanes during this year’s WHL bantam draft, allowing the Wheat Kings to move up to sixth and pick defenceman Kale Clague, has posted a 4.11 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage for lowly Lethbridge.
In return, the Hurricanes get left-winger Steven Alldridge and centre Shane McColgan plus a second-round pick in this year’s bantam draft. Alldridge, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound 17-year-old, has 54 penalty minutes but no points in 24 games as a rookie. McColgan, 21, has topped 60 points in each of his previous four seasons, but had only three assists in 10 games with Portland this season and returned home this month. There’s no word if he’ll join the Hurricanes.
In Thursday’s other moves:
• The Calgary Hitmen acquired LW Connor Rankin, 19, from the Tri-City Americans for D Josh Thrower, 17. Rankin has 33 points in 41 games this season, while Thrower has six points and 43 penalty minutes in 34 contests.
•The Hitmen paved the way for the Rankin trade by sending LW Zane Jones, 19, to the Everett Silvertips for D Michael Zipp, 17. Jones had 24 points in 42 games with Calgary, while Zipp has one point and 23 penalty minutes in 25 games.
• Red Deer and Kamloops swapped 19-year-olds, with the Rebels adding C Aspen Sterzer in exchange for RW Matt Bellerive and a third-round pick in this year’s draft. Sterzer was second on the Blazers with 17 goals and had 32 points in 40 games, while Bellerive has 22 points in 31 games.
•The Rebels moved Czech RW Dominik Volek, a 19-year-old who has 15 goals and 24 points in 32 games, to the Vancouver Giants for a fourth-round pick in 2015 and a third-rounder in 2016.
•The Hurricanes sent C Russ Maxwell, 19, to the Seattle Thunderbirds for RW Seth Swenson, RW Michal Holub, 17, and a fourth-round pick this year. Maxwell has 27 points in 42 games, while Swenson has 20 points in 43 games and Holub has produced three points in 16 contests.
•The Prince George Cougars added Junior A G Adam Beukeboom, 19, from Vancouver for a seventh-round 2016 bantam pick.