Today is expected to be a busy day across the Western Hockey League with teams fine tuning their rosters before the 4 p.m. trade deadline.
The Brandon Wheat Kings pulled off the first two deals of the day. Brandon send 17-year-old blueliner Ayrton Nikkel and a conditional 2015 sixth-round bantam draft pick to the Everett Silvertips in exchange for 18-year-old blueliner Nick Walters and 16-year-old forward Taylor Sanheim.
Brandon also parted with their leading scorer in 19-year-old Alessio Bertaggia to the Spokane Chiefs for 19-year-old import forward Marek Kalus, the rights to 16-year-old Rhett Gardiner, plus a 2013 third-round pick and a 2013 fifth-round bantam draft pick.
The Swift Current Broncos made an early splash on the trade front on Monday when they acquired 17-year-old Jay Merkley from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in exchange for Josh Derko and a 2014 third-round bantam draft selection.
A quartet of trades were made on Wednesday, with all four deals involving players for draft picks.
Vancouver traded 17-year-old defenceman Stewart Coyle to Spokane for a 2016 sixth-round bantam draft pick. Edmonton dealt 19-year-old forward Klarc Wilson to Prince George for a 2014 third-round bantam draft pick. The Kootenay Ice sent 18-year-old defenceman Mike Simpson to Lethbridge for a 2013 fifth-round bantam draft pick. Vancouver dealt overage forward Trevor Cheek to Edmonton for a 2013 second-round bantam draft pick.
The biggest off ice news in the league occurred on Tuesday when the Everett Silvertips announced they had parted ways with head coach Mark Ferner and assistant coach Chris Hartsburg. Silvertips General Manager Garry Davidson has assumed the head coaching duties on an interim basis, while Mitch Love has been retained as an assistant coach.
“After taking a great deal of time over the last 11 months assessing and analyzing the direction of our organization, I’ve come to the decision that a change needed to be made,” Davidson stated in a press release. “It’s important for us to ensure that everyone in our organization operates under the same philosophy and shares the same vision of building a program that is among the WHL’s elite.”