Flurry of trade action takes place at 2019 WHL Bantam Draft

WHL Network


When all 22 Western Hockey League teams are put under one roof, a trade is almost guaranteed.

That was proven true multiple times Thursday, May 2 at the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft in Red Deer, Alta. as 19 deals were completed throughout the day.

The biggest moves were arguably made by the Calgary Hitmen and Kelowna Rockets, with both setting their sights on competing for a WHL Championship and more next season. Hitmen general manager Jeff Chynoweth made a solid add to his blue line with the addition of Vancouver Canucks prospect Jett Woo. Rockets’ general manager Bruce Hamilton made another big play to improve his team’s roster ahead of the 2020 Memorial Cup presented by Kia, adding a pair of 2019 NHL Draft prospects in defenceman Jake Lee and forward Dillon Hamaliuk.

Below is a recap of all of Thursday’s trading action in order from the first deal to last.

ICE acquire third overall, Harsch from Blades for draft picks

The first deal of the day saw the Winnipeg ICE acquire the third-overall selection in the Bantam Draft as well as 1999-born defenceman Reece Harsch from the Saskatoon Blades. In exchange, the Blades acquired the ninth overall and 24th-overall selections in the Bantam Draft as well as second-and-fifth-round selections in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.

In addition to adding a top pick at the draft, the ICE added a veteran defenceman in Harsch. Previously a member of the Blades and Seattle Thunderbirds, Harsch has 57 points (17G-40A) in 178 WHL regular season games, including eight power-play goals. He also comes to the ICE with 33 games of WHL Playoffs experience, winning a WHL Championship with the Thunderbirds in 2017. Harsch is a 6-foot-3, 198-pound product of Grande Prairie, Alta.

ICE acquire second overall from Cougars for picks

The ICE moved up again in Thursday’s WHL Bantam Draft, immediately flipping the third-overall selection and a third-round selection in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft to the Cougars in exchange for second overall. After selecting Matthew Savoie first overall, the ICE looked to their new home province, selecting forward Conor Geekie.

The Cougars would use the third selection on Sherwood Park product Keaton Dowhaniuk and their fourth-overall pick on forward Koehn Ziemmer, picking up a pair of Albertan players.

Rockets acquire Comrie, flip picks with Wheat Kings 

The third deal of the first round saw the Kelowna Rockets move down in the draft to acquire defenceman Sean Comrie.

Kelowna sent the fifth-overall pick to the Brandon Wheat Kings in exchange for 10th overall and Comrie.

Comrie, a 2000-born defenceman from Edmonton, Alta. was selected in the second round, 44th overall, by Brandon at the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. In the 2017-18 season, Comrie played with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Spruce Grove Saints, posting 34 points (7G-27A) in 54 regular season games and helping his team win the AJHL Championship.

Rockets make blockbuster deal with Thunderbirds

In a bid to strengthen their roster ahead of the 2020 Memorial Cup presented by Kia, the Rockets came together on a blockbuster trade with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The Rockets acquired a pair of 2019 NHL Draft prospects in defenceman Jake Lee and forward Dillon Hamaliuk, also picking up goaltender Cole Schwebius. In exchange, the Thunderbirds acquired the 10th overall selection in Thursday’s WHL Bantam Draft, a second-round selection in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft and a first-round selection in the 2022 WHL Bantam Draft as well as 1999-born forward Conner Bruggen-Cate.

Lee is ranked 146th among North American skaters and recorded 24 points (3G-21A) in 67 regular season games with the Thunderbirds last season. The 2001-born rearguard is a product of Sherwood Park, Alta. and was selected 18th overall at the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft.

Hamaliuk was ranked by NHL Central Scouting for most of the season and named to the roster for the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Red Deer, Alta. However, a lower-body injury ended his season on December 29, 2018. He had 26 points (11G-15A) in 31 games after posting 39 points (15G-24A) in his rookie season. A product of Leduc, Alta., the 2000-born forward was selected by the Thunderbirds in the sixth round, 111th overall, at the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.

Goaltender Cole Schwebius makes for a crowded crease with the Rockets, who already have Roman Basran and James Porter. The 2001-born product of Kelowna, B.C. posted a 5-8-2-0 record in 17 games with Seattle last season, managing a 3.89 goals-against average and a .886 save percentage.

In addition to the three draft selections, the Thunderbirds acquired the 20-year-old Bruggen-Cate. A 6-foot-1, 199-pound product of Langley, B.C., Bruggen-Cate posted a career-high 45 points (18G-27A) in the 2017-18 WHL Regular Season. In 200 WHL regular season games, Bruggen-Cate has 72 points (26G-46A).

Hitmen acquire Cancuks’ prospect Woo from Warriors 

With a strong group of 20-year-old players, the Calgary Hitmen made their first push of the off-season to improve their roster for September, acquiring Vancouver Canucks prospect Jett Woo from the Moose Jaw Warriors.

In exchange for Woo, the Warriors acquired Nashville Predators prospect Vladislav Yeryomenko, 16-year-old forward Ryder Korczak, the 11th overall selection in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft and a second-round selection in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft.

Woo was selected by the Canucks in the second round, 37th overall, at the 2018 NHL Draft. In the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season, the Winnipeg, Man. product has 66 points (12G-54A) in 62 games, ranking fifth in defensive scoring. For his WHL career, the 6-foot-0, 203-pound Woo has 114 points (26G-88A) in 178 regular season games. He also brings 30 games of WHL Playoffs experience to the Hitmen’s blue line.

In acquiring Yeryomenko, the Warriors added a veteran presence on their blue line, which could likely see the departure of Josh Brook to the Montreal Canadiens organization next season.

Yeryomenko was selected in the fifth round, 151st overall, by the Predators at last June’s NHL Draft. The product of Vitebsk, Belarus had 33 points (7G-26A) in 63 games last season and has 99 points (26G-73A) for his 188-game WHL regular-season career.

Also headed to the Warriors in the deal is the young Korczak. A product of Yorkton, Sask., Ryder was selected by the Hitmen in the second round, 29th overall, at the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft. He had 15 points (8G-7A) in 50 games with the Hitmen this season.

The Warriors used the 11th overall pick on Manitoban defenceman Denton Mateychuk.

Giants and Hurricanes swap picks

The Vancouver Giants and Lethbridge Hurricanes swapped third-round selections. The Hurricanes acquired the 65th overall pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft for their selection in the same round in 2021.

Royals bolster crease with addition of Farkas from Winterhawks

Shane Farkas is a member of the Victoria Royals following a Thursday deal with the Portland Winterhawks.

The 1999-born product of Penticton, B.C. was one of five goaltenders to reach the 30-win plateau last season, sporting a 30-12-3-3 record, 2.71 GAA, .906 SV%, and four shutouts in 50 games. In 84 games for his WHL career, Farkas has a 47-24-3-4 record, 2.96 GAA, .902 SV%, and seven shutouts.

As part of the deal, Portland also sent the 102nd pick in Thursday’s Bantam Draft to the Royals while receiving the 80th selection in the Bantam Draft. With the pick, the Winterhawks would select Kamloops, B.C. product Carter Streek. The Royals used the acquired pick to select Regina, Sask. forward Carter Briltz.

Wheat Kings, Rebels swap picks

After moving up in the first round of Thursday’s WHL Bantam Draft, the Brandon Wheat Kings elected to move down in the second round.

Making a deal with the Red Deer Rebels, Brandon acquired the 31st and 75th overall selections in exchange for the 23rd overall pick.

The Rebels used the selection on Martensville, Sask. defenceman Hunter Mayo. Brandon used their picks to select defenceman Zach Turner of Boissevain, Man. and forward Liam Watkins of Okotoks, Alta.

ICE acquire Johnson from Americans

The ICE made another addition to their core of overage players, acquiring Andover, Minn. product Isaac Johnson from the Tri-City Americans.

Johnson found offensive success in his two seasons with the Americans, posting 80 points (29G-51A) in 99 WHL regular season games. During the 2018 WHL Playoffs, Johnson had 13 points (5G-8A) in 14 games as the Americans advanced to the Western Conference Championship.

In exchange for Johnson, the Americans acquired the 81st overall selection in Thursday’s WHL Bantam Draft, choosing West Vancouver, B.C. product Maxim Borovinskiy.

Rockets acquire three picks from Wheat Kings

The Kelowna Rockets made a move for beyond their hosting of the 2020 Memorial Cup presented by Kia, acquiring three selections from the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Kelowna acquired the 118th, 140th, and 162nd picks in Thursday’s WHL Bantam Draft in exchange for a fifth-round selection in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.

The Rockets then used the picks on Maxwell Sanford of Williams Lake, B.C. Jackson Smith of Calgary, Alta., and Daimon Gardner of Winnipeg, Man.

Thunderbirds, Silvertips make swap

The Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips struck another deal, sending goaltender Blake Lyda down Interstate 5. In exchange, the Silvertips acquired a third-round selection in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft.

Lyda, a 6-foot-1, 150-pound product of Edmonton, Alta. appeared in three games with the Silvertips in the 2017-18 WHL Regular Season. He posted an 0-1-1 record while maintaining a 3.24 GAA and a ,896 SV%. Lyda was originally selected in the fourth round, 86th overall, by the Silvertips in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft.

Royals, Hurricanes swap sixth-round picks

The Victoria Royals and Lethbridge Hurricanes swapped sixth-round selections Thursday. The Hurricanes acquired the 130th overall selection in exchange for a sixth-round selection in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.

With the pick, the Hurricanes selected Jakin Lawrence, a forward from Rosetown, Sask.

Kamloops Blazers make quartet of trades involving draft picks

Kamloops Blazers general manager Matt Bardsley made a quartet of deals Thursday, acquiring picks for the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft.

With the Portland Winterhawks, Bardsley swapped the 148th overall selection in exchange for a seventh-round selection two years from now. Portland selected Hafford, Sask. product Ty Shumanski with the acquired pick.

In a deal with the Everett Silvertips, the Blazers moved pick 149 in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2021. Everett then selected goaltender Ian Mills from Calgary, Alta.

Dealing with the Saskatoon Blades, Bardsley swapped pick 160 to the Blades in exchange for an eighth-round pick in 2021. Saskatoon selected Pavel Bocharov with the pick.

In a trade with the Kelowna Rockets, Bardsley dealt pick 204 to the B.C. Division rival in exchange for a 10th round selection in 2021. The Rockets used the pick on hometown product Rilen Kovacevic.

Wheat Kings, Winterhawks swap picks

The Brandon Wheat Kings made a move for the future with the Portland Winterhawks.

Brandon acquired an eight-round selection in the 2022 WHL Bantam Draft while the Winterhawks acquired a pair of ninth-round selections in Thursday’s 2019 WHL Bantam Draft.

With picks 184 and 190, the Winterhawks selected forward Landon Van Engelen from Tofield, Alta. and Marek Hejduk, a forward from Parker, Colo. Hejduk is the son of former NHL player Milan Hejduk, who won a gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 1998 Winter Olympics and a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001.

Hurricanes and Cougars swap B.C. born players

In the first of two deals to not involve a WHL Bantam Draft selection Thursday, the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince George Cougars swapped players from the province of British Columbia.

The Cougars sent Maple Ridge, B.C. product Tyson Phare to the Hurricanes in exchange for Prince George, B.C. product Fischer O’Brien.

Phare was the 18th overall selection in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft and had appeared in 16 games for his WHL career. O’Brien played this past season with the Cariboo Cougars in the B.C. Major Midget League (BCMML). The 16-year-old collected seven points (2G-5A) in 40 games, as he helped the Cougars capture the BCMML championship. O’Brien is the younger brother of former Prince George Cougar Brogan O’Brien.

Hurricanes and Broncos swap players

The Swift Current Broncos acquired hometown product Wyatt Wilson from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in a deal Thursday. Heading the other way in the trade is Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. product Alex Thacker.

A 2003-born defenceman Wilson was selected in the sixth round, 116th overall, by Lethbridge in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft. He had 23 points (6G-17A) in 36 games with the Yale Hockey Academy Elite 15s during the 2018-19 CSSHL E15 season.

Thacker is a 2002-born forward who spent the majority of the 2018-19 season with the Fort Saskatchewan Midget AAA Rangers, recording 37 points (10G-27A) in 34 games.

For all trade details visit the WHL’s Transactions page.

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