The Saskatoon Blades landed the biggest fish on the market.
And the Calgary Hitmen added some youth at Monday’s WHL trade deadline.
Saskatoon GM Lorne Molleken paid a steep price for Brandon Wheat Kings star Brayden Schenn, mortgaging the club’s future for a shot at all the marbles.
While the Blades were putting all their eggs in this year’s basket, Hitmen GM Kelly Kisio was looking down the road.
The Hitmen dealt co-captain Matt MacKenzie, 19, to the Tri-City Americans for centre Brooks Macek and defenceman Spencer Humphries, both 18.
Calgary will also receive a third-round bantam draft pick in 2012 if MacKenzie, a Buffalo Sabres prospect, returns for his overage season next fall.
Kisio said he was happy with the return he received for the club’s top defenceman.
“Humphries is a solid, stay-at-home defenceman and Macek is a skilled forward, who put up really good numbers as a 17-year-old,” Kisio said.
“They’ll come back as 19-year-olds in an age group we don’t have (many players).”
The Hitmen also released a number of players to get to the 25-man maximum.
Slovak goalie Juraj Holly went back to Europe, and defencemen Carter Berg and Brody Luhning were released.
Berg, who was moved to the forward ranks for the past month, wanted to play on the blueline and opted to head back to Junior A.
“I thought he looked fine up front,” Kisio said. “And we were in a position where the young guys back on the blueline needed to play.”
The Blades coughed up two first-round picks (2011, ’12), a second-rounder (’11), a first-round import pick (’12) and a pair of 15-year-old prospects — F Tim McGauley and D Ayrton Nikkel — who were first- and second-round picks in last spring’s bantam draft.
“Over the last number of years, we’ve been building toward this,” Molleken said in a statement. “Ultimately, we want to win a championship and we feel we have the team for it this year.
“What we have given up is a piece of our future, but we want to accomplish something special here in the present.”
The Blades also sent a 10th-round pick (2013) to Vancouver for D Tanner Sohn, 19.
The Medicine Hat Tigers added F Kellan Tochkin, 19, and D Alex Theriau, 18, from the Everett Silvertips in exchange for F Ryan Harrison, 18, and a second-round bantam draft pick ... The Moose Jaw Warriors acquired F Sebastian Svendsen, 19, from the P.A. Raiders for
F Michal Hlinka, 17, as well as third- and sixth-round picks ... Lethbridge traded Ryley Bennefield to Portland for Branden Scheidl ... Seattle picked up D Mitch Spooner, 18 from Regina for a fifth-rounder, and grabbed D Ryan Button from P.A. for F Charles Wells, 19, and a first-round pick in the import draft.