By Lethbridge Herald on January 11, 2018.
Canes continue to revamp roster with deadline deals
As the dust settled around the Lethbridge Hurricanes blockbuster seven-player swap with the Swift Current Broncos Tuesday, the Canes made a few more additions and subtractions as the Western Hockey League deadline hit at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
However, with the league-wide wheelings and dealings done, do not — repeat — do not call the Lethbridge Hurricanes sellers.
“Let’s be really clear,” said Hurricanes general manager Peter Anholt shortly after the deadline Wednesday afternoon at the Enmax Centre. “I saw a headline ‘Hurricanes continue to sell off.’ Well, that one caught my attention because there’s nothing further from the truth. We feel that we’ve got the people in our dressing room to continue to compete and do well within our division and with lots of room for growth. Those kids are going to play and our goaltending, we feel, is strong. We don’t feel we’ve taken a step back, but we’ve also secured some future for us.”
One day removed from their swap with the Swift Current Broncos that saw captain Giorgio Estephan, goaltender Stuart Skinner and forward Tanner Nagel head east in exchange for forward Logan Barlage, goaltender Logan Flodell, forward Owen Blocker and defenceman Matthew Stanley, the Canes made a few more moves prior to Wednesday’s deadline.
Returning to the Regina Pats — host of this year’s Memorial Cup — is defenceman Brady Pouteau. A seventh-round draft pick in 2018 comes back to Lethbridge.
The blue-liner from Oak Bluff, Man., who turned 20 on Tuesday, had one goal and 11 points in 31 games with the Hurricanes this season and was acquired by the Hurricanes from the Pats on Jan. 4 of last year.
“We rented Pouts for a year and he goes back to Regina, a familiar place for him,” said Anholt. “And of course, John (Paddock, Pats head coach) is familiar to him, too.”
The Hurricanes also shopped locally on Wednesday, acquiring the rights to Lethbridge product Michael Horon from the Everett Silvertips for a sixth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.
Horon is currently playing with the Lethbridge midget AAA Hurricanes and has nine goals and 22 points in 24 games.
“We kind of had Michael Horon circled as possibly a guy that we could add as an affiliate player and then hopefully get him into our organization and use him as a local kid,” said Anholt. “We like the player, he can skate, he can score and he’s been really well-coached for years.”
The Hurricanes moved Lane Zablocki to the Victoria Royals, for a second- and sixth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft and a conditional third round pick in 2019.
The forward was acquired by the Hurricanes from the Red Deer Rebels in late-December in exchange for Josh Tarzwell, a move the Hurricanes GM conceded was a misfire.
“Really, for me, that was a tougher deal to do,” said Anholt. “I think, for myself, that was a poor deal right off the bat. You try to cut your losses. So we give Lane an opportunity to go somewhere else and try. He was spinning his wheels here. It wasn’t working for him, so hopefully it will work in Victoria.”
In another move Wednesday, the Canes picked up Keltie Jeri-Leon from the Kamloops Blazers in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2019.
The 2000-born forward from Kelowna played for the Tri-City Americans last season and in 21 games with the Blazers this season and had one goal and three points.
“He can skate and has played in the league and we think there’s something there that we can work with,” said Anholt.
The trade deadline leaves the Hurricanes at six defencemen.
“So it puts us a little short there. But because we’re in a situation with both (Alex) Cotton and (Nolan) Jones, they can come in at any given time,” said Anholt of the Hurricanes two draft picks from the 2016 class who have each played one game with Lethbridge this season.
“Jones is in Moose Jaw, he can get in here quick (and) we can bring in Cotton at pretty much any time. We feel like we’re backed up in that position without bringing in those kids and upsetting their teams. So that was a bit of a concern moving Pouteau out, but we wanted to get (Koltrane) Wilson in. Wilson seems like that odd man out and we have to get him playing more in the second half.
“(With) Stanley, I liked his compete (Tuesday) night (against Red Deer), so it kind of opened up the opportunity for us to move Pouteau, which wasn’t an easy move, but we know where he’s going and he knows where he’s going.”
With another deadline complete, the Hurricanes general manager took stock of the past few days.
“It’s been busy, it’s part of the job,” said Anholt. “It’s been an interesting trade deadline, the prices have been just crazy. It’s hard to get your head around it, to be honest. But I think we stayed within the normal boundaries, you might call it. Our trade with Swift Current worked out pretty well for us, I think. I think we’ve got some really special young guys there that for our fans, it’s going to be fun for them to watch.”
NOTES – the Hurricanes assigned 2000-born forward Shawn Harke to the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League on Wednesday.
Harke, 17, was drafted by the Hurricanes in the seventh round and 134th overall in the 2015 bantam draft. The product of Leduc played in 23 games this season, scoring one goal.
along with 13 penalty minutes and a minus-2 rating. He has skated in 24 career games with the Hurricanes.
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