The eight-for-one Cody Eakin trade is paying off now for the Swift Current Broncos
It has been almost three years since Swift Current Broncos Head Coach and General Manager Mark Lamb pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal involving captain Cody Eakin.
Lamb dealt the face of the franchise to the Kootenay Ice prior to the Western Hockey League trade deadline for five players and three draft picks. Three years later, it appears as though the blockbuster is finally paying off for the Broncos.
“Yeah without a doubt,” agreed Lamb. “When you make those type of deals it is years down the road. You can see that Colby Cave I think is one of the top players in the league. We have Jordan Harris and [Cavin] Leth from the deal and they are all really coming along.”
Cave, one of the centerpieces of the trade, is now the Broncos captain and second leading scorer in his third WHL season. He leads the team with a plus-19 rating and has 47 points in 41 games this season.
The Broncos used the first-round pick to draft Zach Gonek and traded him to Prince George for defenseman Jordan Harris, who is off to a good start on a young blueline in Swift Current. They drafted Leth with the second-round pick in 2011 and he cracked the line-up this season and has worked himself into the line-up with a rugged two-way game.
The Broncos used the final draft pick to select forward Wyatt Sloboshan in 2012 and recently dealt him to the Saskatoon Blades as a part of a package to acquire overage forward Nathan Burns.
Star defenseman Brycen Martin, though not directly acquired in the Eakin deal, is also a byproduct of the trade. The Broncos, who were a .500 team at the time, spiraled out of the playoff race with a 4-22-0-1 record after the trade and eventually selected Martin with the second overall pick in the 2011 Bantam Draft.
Kootenay went on to represent the WHL at the Memorial Cup that season.
“When you look back at it and look at it from Kootenay’s standpoint, they won a championship and now it is starting to work out for us. It is a win-win for both teams.”
Lamb said it was not an easy decision to make to deal away the team’s best player in the midst of a playoff race.
“It was a real tough decision to make because of the status of Cody Eakin. The type of identity that I wanted our team to have, that’s what he was. I really knew deep down that we had to get some assets and we had to do something and he was the guy.”
Lamb said that the deal came down to either Kootenay or the Saskatoon Blades. The Blades eventually traded for Brayden Schenn, sending four draft picks and two prospects to the Brandon Wheat Kings.
“Obviously everybody in the league wanted him [Eakin] at that point but the value that we could get from Saskatoon and Kootenay was very high.”
Lamb said that he could still envision himself being on the other end of similar blockbuster deal.
“I could be,” admitted Lamb. “Now seeing how it has worked out, when you make those deals it is always for the best interest of the organization, that’s what [Jeff] Chynoweth did and they ended up winning the championship. That’s what we did and now it is turning out to be very positive for us too. I can’t imagine what our team would be like without making that deal right now.”
Lamb said he has no second thoughts about dealing Eakin away.
“I have never questioned that deal at all. What I probably should have done was make a couple more deals and really go after it, trade some of our overagers. That’s the only thing, it was the opposite of making the deal, it was about making more deals.”