Less than 24 hours before the Western Hockey League trade deadline drops, the Tips made a move to address the issue.
Everett traded to add punch to its offense Thursday, acquiring winger Zane Jones from the Calgary Hitmen in exchange for defenseman Micheal Zipp.
Jones, a 19-year-old from Olds, Alberta, is a big body (6-foot-3, 209 pounds) who has a history of putting the puck into the net. This season he had 11 goals and 13 assists in 42 games with Calgary while last season he tallied 21 goals and 23 assists in 69 games with the Hitmen.
“You always look for players at the NHL level you would compare him to, and he’s a Todd Bertuzzi type,” Everett general manager Garry Davidson said of Jones. “He’s a big, 6-3 guy who’s over 200 pounds, has a good shot, is physically strong and gets to the net.”
Everett has had trouble scoring of late. Injuries have ravaged Everett’s top line and the Tips managed just five goals during their current four-game losing streak. Jujhar Khaira and Carson Stadnyk have picked up their offensive production to try and fill the void, but the Tips were still in need of additional scoring punch. Everett acquired center Remi Laurencelle from Lethbridge on Sunday, but that move was made more with the future in mind. Jones is expected to help out immediately.
“I think he’s the left winger we need in here to fill out our top six (forwards),” Davidson said. “Hopefully we get the rest of our offensive forwards healthy, we add him to the mix and we start generating more offense.”
Davidson said Jones also would be a candidate to fill one of Everett’s three overage roster spots next season. Jones attended training camp with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild before the season, so he’s a candidate to earn a professional contract and play in the minors next season. But if he doesn’t make the pros, Jones will be enthusiastically welcomed back to Everett.
Jones was trying to make it to Everett in time for tonight’s home game against Tri-City. However, his travels were complicated by the fact he was with the Hitmen en route to Regina when the trade was completed, and his passport was still in Calgary.
In Zipp, the Tips were forced to surrender a promising young stay-at-home defenseman. The 17-year-old from Edmonton, Alberta, was a fourth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft. He joined the Tips midseason last season, and he had one assist in 23 games with Everett this season. Zipp was No. 8 on Everett’s defensive depth chart.
“Micheal Zipp was a difficult one for me to let go, because I think he’s a good, quality person and I think he’s got the potential to grow his game and be a solid contributor at some point,” Davidson said. “But they were in need of a d-man, and we needed a guy we hope will be a good fit for us offensively. You have to give up something to get something, and Micheal is a first-class person. He does a real good job in all aspects of his life, whether it’s school or citizenship. It’s always tough to let kids like that go.”
Davidson said he may not be finished dealing before today’s trade deadline, which arrives at 11 a.m.
“We’re still investigating all the options out there,” Davidson said. “I’m not going to say we’re going to get anything done, because it’s going to be difficult, I think. But we’re going to keep scouring to see what may come available. I don’t think there’s a whole lot left out there, to be frank.”
Following Thursday’s trade, Everett has 24 players on its roster: 15 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders.
Everett received some good news on the injury front Thursday as overage center Manraj Hayer has been cleared to resume skating. Hayer has been out since suffering a concussion at Spokane on Dec. 11. Hayer won’t play this weekend, but Davidson said he was hopeful Hayer might be ready to return when Everett hosts Spokane on Jan. 17. … As of Thursday afternoon, there was still no word on whether Tips center Brayden Low will be suspended. Low was given a major penalty for checking to the head in the closing seconds of Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to Portland. Major penalties are automatically reviewed by the league for potential suspensions.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.
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