The majority of this week’s big news came from the trade market with multiple players being brought in and taken out of the league. For the most part, this article will solely be based on reviewing each trade and how the moves will affect each team.
We will cover a couple of minor stories now with one being former Sherwood Park Crusaders defenceman, Cam Reagan, has committed to play for the Grant MacEwan Griffins of the ACAC for next season.
In other news, former Drumheller Dragons Assistant Coach Brayden Klimosko was introduced as the Battlefords North Stars Head Coach and General Manager. We mentioned last week that the Dragons had replaced Klimosko with Kenton Levesque.
Now, let’s take a look at all the player transactions that have been announced in the past week:
- Ryan Miotto and Regan Kimens acquired from Chilliwack (BCHL) – completion of November 28, 2017 trade (PJ Marrocco deal).
- Olson Werenka traded to Salmon Arm (BCHL) in exchange for Austin Chorney and Grayson Constable – completion of January 10, 2018 trade (Solomon Seibel deal)
- Ryan Brushett acquired from Vernon (BCHL) – completion of January 8, 2018 trade (Derek Brown deal).
- Regan Kimens traded to Coquitlam (BCHL) in exchange for Mackenzie Merriman.
- Nick Ormon traded to South Shore (MHL) in exchange for Aidan Casey.
Bonnyville has been by far the busiest team since the trade market opened up on June 1st, and did they ever get a haul back from last seasons trades!
First, we’ll talk about the PJ Marrocco trade. Originally the Pontiacs defenceman Luke Alberts was brought in from the future RBC Cup champions, Chilliwack, and was great on the Bonnyville blueline. Now, joining the team is Ryan Miotto – a Canisius College commit – who had 21 points in 2018 and played in six games at the RBC Cup. Also coming over in the deal was Regan Kimens who has already been moved back to the BCHL for Mackenzie Merriman. Merriman is a 2000-born forward who spent 2018 with Surrey but was brought in from Coquitlam. This move gives the Pontiacs an extra year of playing eligibility.
Their second big deal started back on January 8th when Derek Brown was moved to the Vernon Vipers. Solomon Seibel was the player originally brought over but was soon moved to Salmon Arm – we’ll get that trade in a moment. To complete this deal, Ryan Brushett was sent to Alberta. Brushett seems destined to be a star in Bonnyville. He spent this past season with the Surrey Eagles where he put up good numbers with 49 points in 56 games in the regular season, and also put on a great postseason performance with 7 points in 13 games. The 1998-born forward is also committed to Providence College for the 2019-20 season.
Going back to the Seibel deal, two more players were acquired from the Silverbacks. The two new Pontiacs are Grayson Constable and Austin Chorney. First off, Chorney is a young 2000-born defenceman who is committed to play at Ohio State University for the 2019-20 season. He’s a steady defenceman who doesn’t put up pretty numbers but does an excellent job defensively. With Chorney now with the organization plus Kirby Proctor – an All-Rookie North team member – and Luke Alberts the Pontiacs are looking in good shape on the backend. Also coming over in the deal was Constable who is a veteran forward and has played in over 100 Junior A games. One thing that caught my eye was that he was the captain of the Silverbacks last season. The Pontiacs have lost a lot of veteran leadership recently with Brown, Marrocco, and Charlie Gawlicki – to name a few – all leaving the team in the past 12 months. The addition of Constable could fill that void. To wrap up this trade Olson Werenka was moved to the Silverbacks.
And finally, Nick Orman has been moved to the South Shore Lumberjacks (MHL) for Aidan Casey. By adding Casey, the Pontiacs bring more depth into their forward group that was lacking last season. He’s a 2000-born winger who had 23 points in his first year with the Lumberjacks.
Rick Swann and his team have done an unbelievable job turning this team around in such a short time. They filled holes all over the ice and should be a much more competitive team in 2019. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them push the top teams in the North.
- Matthew Fletcher acquired from Battlefords (SJHL) – completion of November 30, 2017 trade (Dylan Williamson deal).
- Jaxon Steele traded to Drayton Valley (AJHL) in exchange for Joren Patenaude.
- Matthew Fletcher traded to Battlefords (SJHL) for future considerations.
Well, Matthew Fletcher was in Calgary for a hot second, not much else to say about that.
Moving onto their other deal, Joren Patenaude is joining the organization from the Drayton Valley Thunder. Patenaude is heading into his final year of junior hockey and brings plenty of experience to the Canucks lineup.
Before spending the second half of last season in Drayton Valley, the 1998-born forward played 87 games for the Drumheller Dragons.
The newest member of the Canucks has been a consistent contributor wherever he has been.
Games Played Points
Drumheller Dragons 10 4
Drumheller Dragons 46 30
Drumheller Dragons 31 18
Drayton Valley Thunder 20 15
It should also be noted that Patenaude was coached by current Canucks Head Coach Darryl Olsen in Drumheller from 2016 until January when the two of them left the organization.
- Braden Paquette traded to South Shore (MHL) – completion of January 10, 2018 trade (Ryley Smith deal).
The Paquette trade was a minor loss for the Mustangs, especially after what they got back in Ryley Smith.
They’ve already brought in a replacement for him in Louis Jamernik who will bring much more offence to this Stangs’ lineup.
Camrose Kodiaks/Spruce Grove Saints
- Colby Wolter traded to Spruce Grove (AJHL) in exchange for Damon Zimmer
Damon Zimmer was one of six AJHLers to play in the 2018 CJHL Top Prospects game. He put up reasonable numbers last season with 18 points in 40 games. Zimmer turned it up a notch during the Saints long playoff run with five points in eight contests.
The other moving part is Colby Wolter from the Kodiaks. Wolter had similar numbers to what Zimmer produced with 13 points in 33 games in 2018. He came up dry in the playoffs though scoring zero points.
Perhaps the points that Zimmer scored in the postseason was what made him appealing for the Kodiaks.
- Raihan Kheraj acquired from Estevan (SJHL) – completion of January 10, 2018 trade (Bryce Platt deal).
- Owen Reith acquired from Fort McMurray (AJHL) – completion of January 10, 2018 trade (Coy Prevost deal)
Raihan Kheraj comes in as part of the Bryce Platt deal – a player that that spent the entire 2018 season with the Regina Pats. There could be a chance that he suits up with the Estevan Bruins, though, as he is heading into his 20-year season with the Pats who are well over the limit for 20s.
Their other trade completes the Coy Prevost deal with Owen Reith heading to the mountains. Connor Lyons also came over at the deadline and had a terrific spell with the Eagles. If Reith can produce at the rate Lyons did, which he did in Fort McMurray, Canmore could have themselves a couple of key contributes for next season. However, I strongly believe they could’ve got another piece from this deal. More on this later.
Overall, a couple of solid deals for the Eagles as they look to climb of the South standings next year.
Drayton Valley Thunder
- Charlie Risk traded to Granby (QJHL) – completion of January 8, 2018 trade.
- Joren Patenaude traded to Calgary Canucks (AJHL) in exchange for Jaxon Steele.
The addition of Jaxon Steele could be massive for the Thunder.
In the few games I watched him in last season he was a stand out star for the Canucks. He’s a highly skilled forward who didn’t take long to adapt to the AJHL game after spending half a season with the Medicine Hat Tigers in the WHL.
That brings me to my next point: Steele is only 17 years-old and could still have a bright future with the Tigers. The fact that the Canucks moved their promising forward talent could be due to them knowing that Medicine Hat want him back in 2019.
If not, the Thunder just got themselves an excellent player.
Fort McMurray Oil Barons
- Owen Reith traded to Canmore (AJHL) – completion of January 10, 2018 trade (Coy Prevost deal).
The only deal coming out Fort McMurray sees Owen Reith head to Canmore to complete the Coy Prevost trade.
The Barons did a great job of not giving away too many key pieces yet still managed to acquire a top AJHL player. Prevost panned out to be a reliable secondary scorer for the Barons in both the regular and postseason – 12 points in the regular season and 6 in the post.
Connor Lyons – who was sent to the Eagles at the deadline – and Owen Reith are both young prospects who could (and have) put up better numbers with more playing it. Lyons, as previously mentioned, has done well during his time with the Eagles so far.
Another factor in that deal that gives the Barons the upper hand is the fact that Lyons could end up in the WHL with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2019.
Grande Prairie Storm
- Parker Huebener traded to Battleford (SJHL) in exchange for Brad Girard – completion of January 9, 2018 trade (Jared Power deal).
- Xavier Pouliot acquired from St Jerome (QJHL) in exchange for future considerations.
The tradition of acquired French-Canadian players continued in Grande Prairie when Xavier Pouliot was brought in from St Jerome. Pouliot played in the QMJHL last year for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens scoring 6 points in 52 contests. While I am not familiar with the newest Storms’ game, by looking at his numbers I am confident he is a traditional stay-at-home defenceman – exactly what Grande Prairie needs.
Their other addition, Brad Girard, has previous AJHL experience after spending time with the Olds Grizzlys from 2016 to early last season. He struggled in his rookie season – 10 points in 46 games – but seemed to be on his way to a breakout campaign – 9 points in 7 games – before being moved to the North Stars. He continued his scoring ways in the SJHL and finished the season with 31 points and 40 games; he also contributed well in the playoffs with 6 points in 10.
Grande Prairie has done a great job of filling needs so far this offseason. Girard brings in a scoring replacement after Edouard Michaud, Dallas Comeau, and Justin Bernier have all left the team. Also, Pouliot should help bring down their goals against which was the 3rd worst in the North in 2018.
- Andrew Tibbatts, Andrew Liwiski and future considerations traded to Melfort (SJHL) in exchange for Drew Warkentine.
One of my sources described Drew Warkentine as somebody who will dominate the AJHL.
He proved his Junior A worth last season in Melfort scoring 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) in 36 games. Those points came after struggling in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders were he registered 11 points in 87 appearances.
The situation reminds me a little of Dylan Stewart – former Sherwood Park Crusaders forward. Stewart struggled in the WHL but found a fresh start in Sherwood Park helped elevate his game and earn himself a scholarship to NAIT.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens with Warkentine.
In other news coming out of Lloydminster, Mason Waite has signed with the organization.
Waite is an offensive-minded defenseman who spent last season with the Winnipeg Midget ‘AAA’ Wild where he scored 51 points (10 goals, 41 assists) in 48 games.
The Bobcats will be heading into the 2018/19 season with an excellent group of defencemen with Daniel Hilsendager – Western Michigan commit – leading the way.
It clear to see that Bobcats Head Coach/GM Travis Clayton is looking to push his team to the next level.
Olds added yet another Red Deer MAAA product with Hunter Leslie signing with the team.
Leslie is another 18-year-old forward who had 16 points for Chiefs in 2018. He finished 10th in team scoring but was tied for the most points in the postseason along with Ryley Burns who signed for Olds last week.
According to the Grizzlys twitter account, Leslie played in many critical situations during his time in Red Deer.