Kisio wary of spoiling good thing

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

Kelly Kisio has done some of his best wheeling and dealing at the Western Hockey League trade deadline.

But the Calgary Hitmen GM has his work cut out for him this year.

Some might question whether he should bother tinkering with his lineup at all as Saturday's deadline approaches.

"A lot of people say that," Kisio said of his club, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the country at 37-5-1-1.

"Things are going well, and you bring a wild piece into the puzzle, it might screw everything up.

"This is a good group of guys who compete every night. It's tough to tinker with that."

Kisio has pulled off some massive deadline-day blockbusters in the past, starting with the acquisition of defenceman Brad Stuart in 1999.

In 2003, he pulled the trigger on a four-for-two deal with Moose Jaw that would pay dividends for the Hitmen for years.

With John Boychuk and Owen Fussey shipped to the Warriors, Calgary welcomed Ryan Annesley, Lee Zalasky, Shaun Landolt and Brett Carson, who would captain the team a few years later.

In 2004, Kisio added overage goaltender Barry Brust.

But the following year might have been his best deal to date. In 2005, Kisio landed goaltender Justin Pogge, future captain Dylan Yeo and forward Tyrell Lucas from the Prince George Cougars.

Last year, he picked up sniper Brock Nixon from the Kamloops Blazers.

Kisio said he'd love to add an impact player again this year. And if he feels he can get his hands on some veteran depth for what is expected to be a lengthy playoff run, he'll pursue it.

"Either/or would be good for us," Kisio said.

"There's probably one or two impact guys left out there.

"But the price is high and you might wreck your team for a number of years.

"It's a hard thing to weigh out."

The Hitmen boss said the league's GMs are still testing the marketplace, with the exception of Lethbridge's Roy Stasiuk, who nabbed NHL first-rounder Kyle Beach from Everett Tuesday.

"There's a lot of tire-kicking going on," Kisio said. "There was the one big deal Tuesday.

"I'm sure there will be some more, but it might not involve us."

With Lethbridge adding Beach up front, and rumoured to be possibly getting defenceman Lucas Sbisa back from the Philadelphia Flyers, the gauntlet has been thrown down.

The 'Canes, who are 34 points behind the red-hot Hitmen after Calgary beat the Prince Albert Raiders 7-1 last night, are not going to surrender their Eastern Conference crown without a fight.

The Hurricanes won't catch the Hitmen in the regular season.

But they're loading up for another playoff run.

Kisio said his game plan won't be altered by what division and conference rivals do at the deadline.

"You wouldn't mind counteracting it, but if you don't, you let the kids settle it on the ice," he said.

"Let 'em play and see what happens."


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