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Published: Monday, July 26, 2010, 9:57 p.m.

Silvertips deal for star forward Ferraro

Everett forced to give up Froese in deal for Red Deer's 19-year-old sniper Landon Ferraro

  • Landon Ferraro scored 16 goals and had 30 assists in 53 games last season for Red Deer compared to Byron Froese's 29 goals and 32 assists for the Tips...

    Photo courtesy of Red Deer Rebels

    Landon Ferraro scored 16 goals and had 30 assists in 53 games last season for Red Deer compared to Byron Froese's 29 goals and 32 assists for the Tips.

EVERETT -- The Everett Silvertips just landed the biggest fish available in the Western Hockey League this offseason.
But they needed to use a healthy amount of bait to reel him in.
Everett pulled off a blockbuster trade Tuesday, acquiring disgruntled sniper Landon Ferraro from the Red Deer Rebels for Byron Froese in an exchange of 19-year-old centers. A pair of bantam draft picks also changed hands as the Tips sent a third rounder in 2012 to Red Deer and received a conditional fifth rounder in 2012 in return.
Ferraro was the subject of much trade speculation this offseason, and the Tips were able to outbid the opposition for a player with star qualities.
"Landon's going to make us a harder team to play against," Everett general manager Doug Soetaert said. "He's physical and he scores goals. We did a lot of homework on him and we expect him to break out this year. A change of environment can be good, and he's a high-end player who can be a gamebreaker."
Said Ferraro: "I'm relieved and excited. When you're waiting for a trade it's hard wondering where you're going to end up. But to end up with a team like Everett, you can't complain."
Meanwhile, the Tips reluctantly parted with Froese, a player who came out of nowhere to turn himself into a legitimate professional prospect.
"I wasn't expecting it, so it's a big surprise," Froese said of the trade. "I'm looking forward to playing in Red Deer, it's another shot and I want to help the team get better. But I appreciate everything I got from Everett, it was a great experience and a class organization."
In Ferraro the Tips acquired one of the top talents in the league. The 6-foot, 171-pound native of Vancouver, B.C., was the second-overall selection in the 2006 bantam draft, and he was taken in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2009 NHL draft by the Detroit Red Wings. He also has hockey bloodlines as his father, Ray, is a former NHLer who still holds the WHL record for goals in a season with 108 for the 1983-84 Brandon Wheat Kings.
Ferraro, who's known for his speed and goal-scoring instincts, netted 37 times in 53 games as a 17-year-old in 2008-09. But last season he was hampered by knee injuries and managed just 16 goals and 30 assists in 53 games. He also had a falling out with Red Deer coach Jesse Wallin, which resulted in a playoff benching, and both parties agreed it was time to part ways.
"It wasn't any one thing, it was a bunch of little things," Ferraro said about his issues with Red Deer. "We didn't see eye-to-eye on a couple things and I thought the best thing to improve as a hockey player was a change. I want to have a big year this year and I felt a change was needed."
The Tips had their sights set on Ferraro for a while. Soetaert tried unsuccessfully to acquire Ferraro at last season's trade deadline.
Once the Rebels put Ferraro on the block during the offseason they had no shortage of suitors, including several from the U.S. Division. Everett won the bid because of a willingness to include Froese in the deal. Red Deer expects to have a good season, and the Rebels wanted a player who could contribute immediately in return for Ferraro.
"It's tough giving up someone like Byron because he's a good player," Soetaert said. "But after being eliminated in the first round (of last season's playoffs by Kelowna) and seeing where we were at, we thought maybe we needed to change our chemistry a little. I think it's a positive change for us and a good deal for both teams."
In dealing Froese the Tips lost a stalwart member of the team the past two seasons. As the center on Everett's famed "Kid Line" that also included Kellan Tochkin and Tyler Maxwell, Froese tallied 48 goals and 70 assists over two seasons with the Tips, including 29 goals and 32 assists in 70 games last season. He went from being passed over in the bantam draft to being taken in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL draft by the Chicago Blackhawks.
"We're very proud of Byron," Soetaert said. "He's a really nice young man. He came here on a tryout both when he was 15 and 16, and he worked hard to develop his game. He's a self-made player. We didn't want to trade him, but to get something you have to give up something. We're very happy he was a part of our organization and I know he'll help the Rebels."
Ferraro says the knee injuries that plagued him last season have healed. He performed well at Detroit's development camp earlier this month, he's happy to be playing closer to home, and he's eager to start anew in Everett.
"I feel better (physically) than at any time last season," Ferraro said. "The knee is feeling stronger and stronger, and at Detroit's camp two weeks ago I had the best camp I've ever had. My confidence is back up and everything is looking good for a strong season."
Nick Patterson's Silvertips blog: http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog

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