WHL trade deadline

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

The WHL trade deadline will hit at 4 p.m. Moose Jaw time Monday, but the first major deal came Sunday night.

Despite all of the talk about Brayden Schenn leaving the Brandon Wheat Kings, Cody Eakin was the first Canadian world junior star to be shipped.

Eakin was traded to Kootenay for 18-year-old right-winger Christian Magnus, listed players Ryan Bloom, Jarett Zentner, Colby Cave and Steven Myland. The Broncos also got a first and a second round pick in this year’s WHL Bantam Draft and a third round pick in the 2012 Bantam Draft.

Cave, a centre with the midget AAA Battleford Stars, was the 13th pick in the ’09 Bantam Draft. Bloom was a second rounder and Zentner a fourth round pick in the ’08 draft. Both are forwards. Myland is a 16-year-old goalie.

Bloom has played five games for the Ice this season and has a goal. He has been with Drumheller of the AJHL, but will join the Broncos immediately.

The Broncos had originally drafted Magnus — ninth overall — in the 2007 Bantam Draft. Magnus has five goals and 17 points in 42 games this season.

Eakin suffered a hand injury at the world juniors and is expected to and is expected to be out of the Ice lineup for one or two weeks.

The Ice still have a first round pick in this year’s Bantam Draft. They have Vancouver’s first round pick in a trade that saw defenceman David Musil head west.

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Steve Ewen, who has covered the Vancouver Giants for the Vancouver Province, had an interesting tweet after the Eakin deal.

“That’s 30 regular season games plus playoffs from Eakin for possibly 1,400 or so games if the eight turn out? Interesting.”

That’s best case scenario from a Swift Current perspective, but that’s still a staggering number.

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Meanwhile TSN has said that Schenn had reportedly been dealt to his hometown Saskatoon Blades. Now it seems that was premature.

Cory Wolfe from the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported Monday that “A high-ranking NHL official suggested that a deal had fallen through earlier (Sunday).”

With the Eakin deal now official, it’s interesting to see how that changes the possible Schenn deal. If you’re Brandon you can look at the price Kootenay paid and feel you deserve even more in compensation than Swift Current received.

If you’re Saskatoon, you’re thinking that the other front-runner in the Schenn sweepstakes just unloaded a lot of assets and the lack of a competitor may drive the asking price down.

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What does this mean for the Warriors heading into the deadline? It really shouldn’t change much.

A big name, one-year player like Schenn or Eakin (both of whom have signed NHL contracts) never seemed the kind of deal they were after. Anything is possible if the price is right, but clearly the price for Eakin — at least — was very steep.

Warriors director of hockey operations Alan Millar clearly values draft picks — as well he should. He said he would like to find another top-six forward and they have some extra picks to play with, but in a seller’s market (with few sellers) the asking price may be too high.

To some extent the Warriors already made a splash on the trade market by acquiring Mackenzie Royer and Cody Beach. They addressed some needs by adding size and a top-six forward months before the deadline.

The Warriors sent forwards Danny Gayle and Nathan MacMaster along with goalie Brandon Glover in a 3-for-2 deal for Royer and Beach.

Sure Eakin has a better resumé than Beach at this point and they’re not easy to compare — Beach is a year younger, both have vastly different styles and skill sets. That being said, considering Eakin has 39 points in 30 games and Beach has 35 in 37, they’re not miles apart in terms of production. Eakin was a third round NHL choice, Beach is a fifth rounder.

In that context, looking at what it took to get Eakin compared to the Beach/Royer deal, and it looks like a shrewd piece of business by Millar to make an early deal.

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In case you were wondering, Warriors head coach Dave Hunchak pulled Thomas Heemskerk for 29 seconds Friday at the end of the second period. The move gave the Warriors top power play unit a brief break for the start of a 5-on-3 power play.

It’s not the first time Hunchak has made a move to by time. It doesn’t seem like the quick switch earns that much of a break. However, if you clock it, it’s a surprisingly effective ploy.

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