The Moose Jaw Warriors swung a four-player deal Wednesday in an effort to bolster their forward group.
The Warriors acquired left winger Justin Kirsch and centre Kenton Miller from Calgary in exchange for defenceman Collin Bowman, left winger Joey Kornelsen and a fourth round pick in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.
Miller, 20, spent three seasons with the Spokane Chiefs before being acquired off of waivers by the Hitmen this past summer. The six-foot, 191-pound centre from Redvers, Sask. had three goals in 11 games this season. He had 10 goals and 28 points in 55 games last season with the Chiefs.
“The coaching staff and I believe that we needed a veteran presence down the middle,” said Alan Millar, the Warriors director of hockey operations. “We’re not very big down the middle, we’re not really reliable and we’re young. Miller comes in as a solid, two-way, reliable, experienced guy. He’s good on face-offs. He’s a guy we can put on the ice late in a game with the draw in our own end and a one-goal lead.”
Kirsch, a 19-year-old left winger, had career highs last year as he scored 25 goals and 42 points in 66 games. The six-foot-two Chilliwack, B.C. product had three goals and five points in 10 games so far this season.
“All along when we were considering moving one of our veteran defencemen our hope was that we could add a top-six forward,” said Millar. “Justin Kirsch is a big kid. He scored 26 goals last year on a Calgary team that struggled. He’s had a good start this year. We think he’s a great compliment to what we have and he’s going to come in here and be a good top two line forward for us.”
Bowman had four goals and five points in seven games with the Warriors. The 20-year-old defenceman from Littleton, Colo. scored 11 goals and added 37 assists in 72 games a year ago.
Kornelsen scored 11 goals and added 14 assists in 61 games last season. The 18-year-old had five points in a dozen games so far this season.