After all was said and done, the Brandon Wheat Kings came out of the Western Hockey League’s trade deadline on Friday with exactly the same team they went in with.
The club did not make any moves on a relatively quiet day of WHL dealing. Brandon head coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon acknowledged that discussions took place and that the Wheat Kings did their “due diligence,” but at the end of the day he chose not to subtract from the team’s future to bolster its lineup for a playoff run this season.
“We liked the players that we have, and if you’re going to get into the trade market you need to be prepared to trade players off your team or prospects out of your system or draft picks to make deals,” McCrimmon said. “We really weren’t anxious to change the makeup of our team and we didn’t want to be at a deficit with draft picks.”
The Wheat Kings were the only team in the WHL that didn’t make a trade between the Christmas break and the deadline, but McCrimmon pointed to the deals made earlier this season to bring in 19-year-old forward Peter Quennevillle and 17-year-old defenceman Ryan Pilon, players McCrimmon said will help the team this season and beyond. Heading into Friday’s game against the Prince Albert Raiders with a 13-5-4-0 record since Nov. 11, McCrimmon said the Wheat Kings have shown plenty of improvement, and he expects more to come, even without any additions.
“I think that our guys have improved quite a bit this season,” he said. “I think we collectively feel that we’re going to continue to improve.”
In all, eight WHL trades were completed Friday, the same as last year’s deadline, although none of them were of the major variety, with teams opting to do their big-ticket shopping early.
Among the moves, former Wheat King Geordie Maguire, an 18-year-old left-winger, found a new home, dealt from the Regina Pats to the Swift Current Broncos for a sixth-round pick in next year’s WHL bantam draft. Sent by Brandon to Regina at the 2013 bantam draft as part of an agreement that the Pats would leave Nolan Patrick on the board for the Wheat Kings to select with the fourth pick, Maguire had seven goals and seven assists in 27 games as a Pat.
In Friday’s other moves:
• The Pats hooked up on the largest deal of the day with the Medicine Hat Tigers by acquiring G Daniel Wapple, 18, and C Logan McVeigh, 19, for G Nick Schneider, 16, and a 2016 third-round pick. Wapple had a 2.95 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage for the Tigers, while McVeigh had 17 points in 41 games. Schneider had a 3.56 GAA and an .870 pct.
• Regina rounded out its busy day by sending C Marc McCoy, 19, to the Kelowna Rockets for a 2016 fifth-round pick. McCoy has seven points and 59 penalty minutes in 36 games.
• The Tigers landed C Anthony Ast, 18, who has eight points in 25 games, from the Vancouver Giants for a third-round pick in 2016.
• Spokane and Tri-City swapped 19-year-old forwards, with the Chiefs getting C Marcus Messier from the Americans for RW Jackson Playfair. Messier had 20 points in 39 games, while Playfair had only six points in 40 games, but the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder amassed 78 penalty minutes.
•The Kamloops Blazers sent G Taran Kozun, 19, the owner of a 3.95 GAA and an .897 pct., to the Seattle Thunderbirds for G Justin Myles, 18, D Austin Douglas, 17, and a 2015 fourth-round pick. Myles has a 3.66 GAA and an .889 pct., while the 6-foot-6, 194-pound Douglas has one assist in 13 games.
• The Lethbridge Hurricanes, who traded former Wheat Kings G Corbin Boes to the Portland Winterhawks Thursday and are waiting for veteran Teagan Sacher to return from an injury, filled their hole in net by picking up Jarrod Schamerhorn, 18, from the Winterhawks for a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft. Schamerhorn had a 4.40 GAA with the Hawks.
• The Saskatoon Blades rolled the dice on C Ty Mappin, 17, sending a conditional seventh-round pick in 2015 to the Everett Silvertips. Mappin was the 2011 seventh overall bantam pick, but is playing Junior A in Alberta this season.