By Woodard, Dale on January 7, 2020.
Brett Davis is returning to the team that brought him into the Western Hockey League in the first place.
With the WHL trade deadline looming Friday, the Hurricanes acquired the 20-year-old forward they drafted in the fourth round and 78th overall in the 2014 WHL bantam draft in exchange for a fourth round draft pick in the 2021 WHL bantam draft.
To make room for the overage player, the Hurricanes placed local product D-Jay Jerome on waivers.
After being dealt to the Kootenay Ice at the trade deadline in January of 2017 alongside Colton Kroeker in exchange for Matt Alfaro and Zak Zborosky, the now 20-year-old Davis returns to where his WHL career started.
“We traded him away for the Alfaro/Zborosky deal, which was a hard deal for us to make at that time,” said Hurricanes general manager Peter Anholt. “Since that time he’s played in a couple of different places. He’s a 20-year-old now and he plays with a lot of speed and he has some skill. We think we are adding a full-time, top six forward to our lineup and we are excited about that.”
In 37 games with the Rebels this season, the product of Oakbank, Man. who was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the sixth round and 163rd overall in the 2017 NHL draft had nine goals and 24 points.
He now brings that back to southern Alberta.
“It’s obviously very exciting,” said Davis. “I started my career in Lethbridge in Lethbridge and Peter took a chance on me and gave me an opportunity to step into this league, so it’s nice to go back to Lethbridge and finish my career there.”
Jerome, 20, scored 14 goals and 28 points in 40 games with the Hurricanes this season after being acquired in the off-season from the Victoria Royals.
“When you bring a guy in obviously somebody has to go out and that was the tough part about this,” said Anholt. “D-Jay Jerome is such a good person and a really good guy in our dressing room. It was a hard decision to make that he had to go. But that’s the life of a 20-year-old in the Western Hockey League and we just thought we needed to upgrade that position.”
Nearly three years to the day he departed Lethbridge for Kootenay, Davis returns a little older and wiser with as nicely-rounded game.
“I think I’ve just developed a lot more as a player,” he said. “I worked on my defensive game a lot and I think as a young player coming into the league it’s tough on you sometimes. I think for me it was just developing my game and becoming a 200-foot player and that’s something that the coaches harped on me a lot when I was in Lethbridge. So I think I’ve done that.”
The Canes are in Calgary Friday to take on the Hitmen before returning to the Enmax Centre Saturday night at 7 p.m. when the Swift Current Broncos come to town.
With an abundance of centres, Anholt anticipates Davis sliding in on right wing.
“Whether he plays right wing with (Dylan) Cozens or he plays right wing with (Logan) Barlage, I guess that will be a decision that the coaching staff can make and see what is the best fit. But he certainly has lots of speed and he can shoot it. So that’s what we like and that’s something we thought we needed to add to our group.”
In his first full season in Lethbridge in 2015-16 Davis had five goals and nine points in 53 games.
He had another seven goals and 11 points in 29 games in 2016-17 before being traded to the Ice.
Anholt said the Hurricanes newest acquisition was looking forward to a return to southern Alberta.
“I was really pleased with how happy he was to come back to Lethbridge. I think that says a lot about our city and our community and our organization that a player is excited about coming back to it.”
As a Central Division team, Davis has already had a first-hand glimpse as to what he’ll be joining.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is ‘fast,'” said Davis. “Every time we’ve played Lethbridge they’ve been a really fast team and they’re hard to play against. Looking at the roster there are some good players on there. Lethbridge is having a good season so far so hopefully I can step and help them win some games.
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