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Nick Patterson |
Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 10:45 a.m.

The Jones trade: the day after

OK, I've had a little time to digest Everett's trade of Seth Jones to Portland, which netted 18-year-old defensemen Reece Willcox and Ben Betker and 16-year-old forwards Tyler Sandhu and Mitch Skapski, and have some further thoughts:

1) Frankly, I'm surprised the Tips got this much for Jones, given their lack of leverage. Jones and Portland, because Jones could have chosen to go to the NCAA, held the cards. And I'm sure the Winterhawks argued that with Jones being touted as a one-and-done player, the price should have been even lower. Personally, I wouldn't have been shocked to hear the Tips got a second-round bantam pick in return. I didn't anticipate Everett picking up four prospects.

2) These are good prospects the Tips received in return. Willcox (though he's committed to Cornell and may not play for Everett) is expected to be selected in this year's NHL draft. Betker, who's a late birthdate 94, has some buzz going for the 2013 NHL draft, and he'll get plenty of ice time with Everett next season to show what he's got. Sandhu and Skapski both had excellent seasons in the B.C. Major Midget League as 15-year-olds, scoring more than a point per game -- Alan Caldwell had the interesting observation that both Skapski and Sandhu finished ahead of 2011 No. 1 overall bantam pick Jake Virtanen in scoring, with Skapski playing on the same team. Both Betker and Sandhu have already signed WHL education contracts so no worries about whether they'll report, and since Skapski is already retweeting me I'm guessing he's receptive to playing in Everett, too.

3) Between the acquisitions made at the bantam draft and this trade, we're beginning to get a picture of new general manager Garry Davidson's style and plan. First, based on the trades for Willcox, Jujhar Khaira and the drafting on Austin Mathews, he's continued the Portland-style attitude of taking chances on NCAA types (we'll see if he's as successful in Everett at landing those players). Second, he appears to have targeted 2013-14 and beyond. All the players he's acquired so far were born in 1994 or later, meaning they all should still be around two seasons from now. That suggests next season will probably be another season of building rather than title contending.

4) Everett now has quite the stable of 1996-born forwards. Ty Mappin and Dawson Leedahl are both excellent prospects who have already signed with Everett. Now with Sandhu and Skapski added to the fold, one can easily imagine that group forming the nucleus of a good team. Especially with a quality 1995-born goalie (Austin Lotz) and 1997-born potential No. 1 defenseman (Kevin Davis) also on board. It'll be interesting to see who all makes next season's team. It's hard to imagine Everett carrying four 16-year-old forwards, but not out of the question.

5) It'll certainly be an interesting game when Portland visits Comcast Arena for the first time next season. I suspect Jones will be receiving some sort of reception from the fans.
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