January 9, 2011
Broncos, Ice make big WHL trade splashCanadian world junior star off to Kootenay for five players, three picks
By SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency
The Kootenay Ice grabbed one Team Canada world junior star.
There’s still one left.
Whataya got, Saskatoon Blades?
The Swift Current Broncos sent centre Cody Eakin to the Ice Sunday for five players and three draft picks.
That leaves Brandon Wheat Kings star Brayden Schenn as the last stud on the market leading up to Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.
The Eastern Conference-leading Blades are expected to be the frontrunners to land Schenn’s services.
The Broncos (22-22-1) sit sixth in the Eastern Conference but made the massive deal to build for the future, said GM/head coach Mark Lamb.
“Eakin has been the best player to come to this team since Joe Sakic,” Lamb said in a statement. “It’s a trade we didn’t want to do, but it’s the best thing for our hockey club in the long run.”
Eakin suffered a minor hand injury at the world junior tournament, where he sat out one game, and is expected to miss the next week or two.
In addition to first-, second- and third-round bantam draft picks, the Broncos also received forward Christian Magnus as well as listed players Ryan Bloom, Jarett Zentner, Colby Cave and Steven Myland.
Magnus (five goals and 17 points in 42 games this season) was originally drafted by Swift Current in the first round of the 2007 bantam draft.
Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth had the luxury of holding two first-round picks for this spring’s draft.
He said making the blockbuster deal was not a decision he took lightly. But with his team sitting six points back of Saskatoon, he said adding Eakin made sense.
“This was not an overnight decision and as an organization we have had ongoing discussions on how to improve our hockey club to challenge for a WHL Championship this season,” Chynoweth said. “We have acquired one of the WHL’s premier offensive players which will add offense to an already balanced team.
“To get a player the caliber of Cody Eakin you have to give up a lot and we feel we definitely stepped up to the plate and parted with very good players and very high draft picks.”
Bloom, 17, has 21 points in 20 games with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. The forward was a second-round pick of the Ice in 2008.
Zentner, 17, played 20 games with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers before joining the Calgary Mustangs. The Red Deer product was a fourth-round pick in 2008.
Cave was Kootenay’s first-round pick in last spring’s draft. The 6-foot, 170-lb. forward is playing with the Battlefords Stars of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.
Myland is a 15-year-old goaltender playing with the Valley West Hawks of the British Columbia Major Midget Hockey League. He has a 1.64 GAA and .934 save percentage this season.
“Both Magnus and Bloom will bring depth to our team,” said Broncos assistant GM Jamie Porter. “Zentner, Cave and Myland have all been playing strong for their respective teams and will be great additions to our organization as well.”
Eakin was one of the bright spots in Team Canada’s crushing 5-3 loss to Russia in the world juniors gold-medal game.
The Washington Capitals prospect scored 100 goals and added 95 assists during his four seasons with the Broncos.
Schenn, who is also on the shelf with an injured shoulder could also garner a king’s ransom prior to Monday’s deadline.
The Blades, seeking their first WHL crown in franchise history, would obviously love to add the talented Los Angeles Kings prospect to their lineup for the stretch run.
Whether Blades GM Lorne Molleken is willing to mortgage a significant chunk of the team’s future to make the deal happen is the only question left to be answered.
If not, the Spokane Chiefs, Medicine Hat Tigers and Red Deer Rebels would likely try to get in on the action.
Two other recent trades have seen teams package first-round picks along with prospects to snag proven scorers.
Tri-City got Carter Ashton from the Regina Pats for two players (Nils Moser, 17, and Tanner Olstad, 18), a first-round bantam draft pick as well as a second- and a fifth-rounder in 2012.
The Portland Winterhawks grabbed overager Craig Cunningham and a sixth-round pick from the Vancouver Giants in exchange for forwards Spencer Bennett, 20, and Teal Burns, 18, a first-round pick this spring and a second-rounder in ‘12.
It’s definitely a seller’s market.