Former Brandon Wheat Kings forward Brenden Walker is an overage captain with the Saskatoon Blades. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Even though only four of the Western Hockey League’s 22 teams are carrying more than the maximum of three 20-year-olds heading into Thursday’s deadline, rest assured that nearly every player in the league will breathe a little bit easier come tomorrow night.
Just because a team is carrying three overagers right now doesn’t mean those are the three they’ll stick with, particularly if an upgrade becomes available at the deadline. On top of that, younger players can become the pieces that go the other way in a 20-year-old deal, and once WHL general managers get talking, who knows what else might be thrown on the table.
Case in point, the Tri-City Americans solved their overage dilemma on Tuesday by trading forward Jordan Messier to the Moose Jaw Warriors, but Ams GM Bob Tory didn’t stop there, pulling the trigger on two other trades as well. Meanwhile, the Warriors were already at the limit before the deal, leading them to trim Austin Bourhis to accommodate Messier.
Here’s a look at the teams that are over or under the limit:
•Edmonton Oil Kings — With only forwards Dylan Wruck and T.J. Foster taking up overage spots, the Oil Kings are the only team under the limit, and with injuries already creeping up on the defending champions, they may not wait long to fill that void.
•Medicine Hat Tigers — The Tigers are one over the limit, but that includes defenceman Alex Theriau, who is out with a hip injury. They don’t have to make a move until after he returns.
• Portland Winterhawks — The Winterhawks present a very interesting scenario, with goalie Mac Carruth’s recent return from the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. Carruth has backstopped the Winterhawks to back-to-back WHL finals, meaning — barring the practically unheard of move of keeping two 20-year-old goalies — Cam Lanigan will be sent packing. Oh yeah, Lanigan just happens to be the WHL leader in goals-against average (1.00) and save percentage (.960).
•Prince Albert Raiders —The top team in the WHL’s overall standings has to move someone, but not unless/until defenceman Antoine Corbin is returned from a tryout with the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs. Anthony Bardaro is the club’s top scorer, while Luke Siemens is the No.1 goalie, which means defenceman Davis Vandane — picked up as Corbin insurance —is likely on the bubble.
• Saskatoon Blades — Perhaps the only case more intriguing than the Winterhawks, the Blades picked up Red Deer Rebels captain Adam Kambeitz on Monday to go over the limit, and they’ll have to part with a very good player as a consequence. Former Brandon Wheat King Brenden Walker cost the Blades a pretty penny in the off-season and was named captain, while fellow forward Josh Nicholls has 155 points in the past two seasons, and blue-liner Connor Cox is coming off a 41-point campaign.
AROUND THE WHL: Tri-City sent Messier to Moose Jaw for a fourth-round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. In their other moves, the Americans shipped D Sam Grist, 19, to the Kamloops Blazers for a third-round pick next year and a fifth-rounder in 2014, and acquired C Ryan Chynoweth, 17, from Everett for a conditional fifth-round pick in 2014 … Kamloops RW JC Lipon and Swift Current G Eetu Laurikainen won Canadian Hockey League awards Tuesday. Lipon had three goals and four assists in two games and was named player of the week, while Laurikainen stopped 71 of 73 shots in two wins and was named goalie of the week.
BRANDON (3) — C Nick Buonassisi, D Tyler Yaworski, D Ryley Miller.
CALGARY (3) — RW Brooks Macek, C Cody Sylvester, D Spencer Humphries.
EDMONTON (2) — LW Dylan Wruck, RW T.J. Foster.
EVERETT (3) — RW Cody Fowlie, C Ryan Harrison, D Landon Oslanski.
KAMLOOPS (3) — RW Dylan Willick, RW Jordan DePape, LW Brendan Ranford.
KELOWNA (3) — RW J.T. Barnett, RW Dylen McKinlay, D Mitchell Chapman.
KOOTENAY (3) — LW Drew Czerwonka, RW Brock Montgomery, D Joey Leach.
LETHBRIDGE (3) — LW Graham Hood, D Daniel Johnston, G Ty Rimmer.
MEDICINE HAT (4) — C Elgin Pearce, LW Kale Kessy, D Alex Theriau, D Derek Ryckman.
MOOSE JAW (3) — LW Justin Kirsch, RW Jordan Messier, D Kendall McFaull.
PORTLAND (4) — C Taylor Peters, D Troy Rutkowski, G Cam Lanigan, G Mac Carruth.
PRINCE ALBERT (4) — C Anthony Bardaro, D Antoine Corbin, D Davis Vandane, G Luke Siemens.
PRINCE GEORGE (3) — C Brock Hirsche, D Daniel Gibb, D Dallas Ehrhardt.
RED DEER (3) — LW Turner Elson, C Charles Inglis, D Brandon Underwood.
REGINA (3) — LW Lane Scheidl, D Colton Jobke, G Matt Hewitt.
SASKATOON (4) — LW Adam Kambeitz, RW Brenden Walker, RW Josh Nicholls, D Connor Cox.
SEATTLE (3) — C Brendan Rouse, C Luke Lockhart, G Brandon Glover.
SPOKANE (3) — RW Blake Gal, C Dylan Walchuk, D Brenden Kichton.
SWIFT CURRENT (3) — LW Ryon Moser, LW Chance Lund, D Dalton Reum.
TRI-CITY (3) — C Justin Feser, LW Jesse Mychan, D Drydn Dow.
VANCOUVER (3) — LW Trevor Cheek, D Wes Vannieuwenhuizen, D John Neibrandt.
VICTORIA (3) — LW Jamie Crooks, LW Alex Gogolev, D Tyler Stahl.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 10, 2012