The big news in Silvertips land this week, obviously, was Tuesday’s the firing of head coach Mark Ferner and assistant coach Chris Hartsburg. However, the next big news event comes right on its heels as the WHL trade deadline arrives in approximately 24 hours. The deadline is 2 p.m. Thursday, and every year there’s always a flurry of moves at the deadline.
I get the feeling there will be less of a flurry this year. There didn’t seem to be a whole lot of marquee veterans available for contenders this season to begin with, and several of the players who were available have already been moved.
What about the Silvertips? At 16-24-0-2 and having just fired its coach, Everett fits the profile of a seller. Everett’s trade activity this season would reinforce that notion. Tips general manager Garry Davidson has made seven deals since training camp, and those deals have seen seven players depart and just two return, with the Tips also receiving six bantam draft picks while giving up only one. It also appears to be a seller’s market, meaning the returns could be good.
But what do the Tips have to sell? Of its three overagers (forward Ryan Harrison, defenseman Connor Cox and hybrid player Landon Oslanski), two were picked up off waivers, so it’s questionable whether they have much trade value. Any overager would also have to be an upgrade over the overagers a contender already has (with the exception of Red Deer, which has just two). Everyone else on the roster could be back next season, when the Tips presumably will have a stronger team. Everett has just three 19-year-olds on the roster (forwards Reid Petryk, Joshua Winquist and Manraj Hayer) and none are expected to be pros next season, so they’d make a good overage trio next season.
The truth is the trade deadline became a lot less interesting for the Tips the moment Ryan Murray went down injured. Murray may have been the most sought-after player at the deadline if he was healthy, as the star 19-year-old defenseman is the type of player who could put a contender over the top. And unlike last year, when then Tips GM Doug Soetaert was adamant about not trading Murray, I suspect Murray would have been available this year. But with Murray out for the season that opportunity is gone. And it may have been a moot point, anyway, now that the NHL is coming back, as Murray likely would have been playing in Columbus the remainder of the season.
Nevertheless, it will be a tense 24 hours, not only for Everett’s players, but for all the players in the WHL.