July 14th, 2024

Hurricanes trades aim for more competitive lineup

By Lethbridge Herald on January 9, 2024.

Lethbridge Hurricanes Dylan Sydor, one of the team's newly acquired players, battles for position in front of the net with Spokane Chiefs Will McIsaac during their WHL match-up Tuesday night at the Enmax Centre. The Canes won 3-2 in overtime. Herald photo by Ian Martens

Al Beeber – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge Hurricanes general manager Peter Anholt says the team’s big players need to play bigger and the smaller guys have to be more competitive.

The Canes GM spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning after the Western Hockey League club pulled the trigger on three trades Monday.

The team, however, may not be done dealing yet before today’s WHL trade deadline. Anholt said the club could use another D-man in the lineup. 

In Monday’s deals, the Canes acquired 2003-born forward Dylan Sydor from the Kamloops Blazers in exchange for fellow 2003-born forward Blake Swetlikoff and two draft picks. Those picks include a second rounder in 2025 and a third-rounder in the 2024 WHL prospects draft.

Sydor’s dad is former NHLer Darryl, a defenceman who won Stanley Cups with two different clubs – the Dallas Stars in 1999 and Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.

When he was in junior, the senior Sydor, who played almost 1,300 NHL games, won a Memorial Cup with the Blazers of which he’s a part owner.

 The Lethbridge club also traded 2004-born forward Tyson Zimmer to the Vancouver Giants in return for 2004-born forward Colton Langkow, 2008-born unsigned prospect Kai Anderson and two draft picks.

The Canes also acquired 2003-born forward Sean Tschigerl from the Calgary Hitmen in exchange for second and third-round picks in the 2025 draft.

The 20-year-old Sydor has 180 WHL games under his belt and has scored 85 points – 42 goals and 43 assists.

Swetlikoff, also 20, appeared in 67 games with the Canes during two seasons after being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs before the 2023 trade deadline.

“We’ve been really patient with the group up til yesterday. I think we felt our group needed to be more competitive” on an individual basis and be harder to play against, said Anholt.

“The coaches did a really good job with the group that we had but for my standpoint watching the group I think we’ve got to be more competitive. I think our big guys have to play big and our smaller guys have to be more competitive and be more assertive and give us some more on a daily basis, added Anholt.

“It’s pretty clear from my standpoint what a Hurricane is and how he’s supposed to play.”

Anholt called Tschigerl “a really good two-way player, a real character guy. He’s going to give us a lot in a lot of different areas.”

Getting Sydor adds a player who had a good playoff run last year with the Blazers who made it to the Memorial Cup.

“He’s got a motor and he can score, he’s certainly got hockey DNA in him which I like so we’re really pleased about that.”

He called Swetlikoff a coachable player, good team player and a character guy which carries a lot of weight around the league.

He said sending Zimmer to the Giants was an important move, giving the team of draft picks while acquiring a couple of assets in return.

“We’re happy with that move, too. . .we came out of it pretty positive,” added the GM.

“The biggest thing for me is the competitive spirit and how our team has to play. Our coaches were frustrated at times on how we played. . .all of a sudden we have a lot more competitiveness, not only on the ice but in our dressing room.”

Tschigerl and Sydor will help the team on specialty teams, the GM said.

“It’s a big big step. Five on five we continue to evolve as a team on how we play but the specialty teams I think our power play got better immediately, our penalty kill got better immediately. That, I think, is huge for us and exciting and I think our Top Six forward group now is really strong and now we’ll sort out our bottom six” with competition among players to see who plays.

“You’ve got to earn it, nothing’s given, you’ve got to earn it and we’ll see how our young guys react to that.”

The Canes have six defencemen on the lineup but left-handed shot Will Sharpe “is on the shelf” with some sickness so the club only has five healthy regulars. But the team has brought in two others to fill the void as backup.

“I think adding a defenceman would be important” before the trade deadline, he said.

The Canes beat the Spokane Chiefs last night 3-2 in overtime and end their four-game homestand Friday against the Medicine Hat Tigers.

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