A year ago Alan Millar made some of the bigger splashes leading up to the WHL trade deadline.
This year Millar expects that he made his biggest move well before the deadline — the trade with Kamloops that sent defenceman Joel Edmundson west.
The Moose Jaw Warriors general manager is listening to offers and working the phones before Thursday’s 4 p.m. deadline, but he isn’t expecting to be a major player in the process.
“I think from our end I don’t anticipate anything major,” said Millar. “I think the one deal we looked to get done — to recoup some assets and try to improve our team down the road — was done with the Edmundson deal.
“There may be some tinkering. There may be some house cleaning, but as of right now I don’t expect anything huge.”
This year’s deadline is a little quieter than most without too many big names likely to move. Still, Millar said there has been plenty of discussion.
“There’s a lot of talk. There’s a lot of teams trying to figure out what they want to do and then trying to figure out what they can and can’t do — based on some earlier deals that established some higher price this season than in other years,” said Millar. “I think prices are a factor in this deadline. Going back to the bar being set at a younger player and a first round pick.”
The Warriors are a big reason why that bar has been set so high when they acquired a first round pick, a 15-year-old former first round pick (Jayden Halbgewachs) and an established player (Tyler Bell) for defenceman Joel Edmundson and fourth round pick.
The Warriors based their asking price in that deal based in part on the fact that the Vancouver Giants picked up 17-year-old defenceman Mason Geertsen and a first round pick from Edmonton in exchange for NHL second round pick David Musil.
Those asking prices a month before the deadline have helped make it a sellers’ market.
The Warriors biggest asset — 18-year-old defenceman Morgan Rielly — is off the table. Millar stated unequivocally that Rielly wouldn’t be traded. Rielly is anticipating that he will be invited to Toronto Maple Leafs camp once the NHL CBA is ratified later this week. Instead of flying home to Moose Jaw after the world juniors, Rielly opted to stay in Toronto and rest before attending his first NHL camp.