By Nick Patterson Herald writer
EVERETT — Everett Silvertips defenseman Austin Adam found himself in limbo at the end of the 2013-14 season. On Monday the Tips gave him a chance for a fresh start.
The veteran blueliner will have a new home next season as he was dealt to the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2015 bantam draft. The pick starts out as an eighth rounder, but could be upgraded to a sixth rounder depending on how Adam performs with the Warriors.
“He was a quality young man in this program for three years,” Everett general manager Garry Davidson said of Adam. “We hope it goes well for him in Moose Jaw and that he can continue to develop as a player. I think it will be good for him.”
Adam, a 19-year-old from Surrey, B.C., spent three seasons with the Tips, notching four goals and seven assists in 127 games. The towering stay-at-home defender was originally selected by Everett in the fourth round of the 2010 bantam draft. He made the team as a 16-year-old and had a promising rookie campaign as a part-time player.
However, Adam suffered through an injury-plagued sophomore season in which he appeared in just 31 games. Then last season he began as a regular, but was a healthy scratch for almost the entire final month of the season as the Tips rallied to finish tied for fourth in the Western Conference. He was also scratched during the playoffs until defenseman Noah Juulsen went out with an injury.
Adam’s position with regards to next season’s team was also in question. Everett had six defensemen returning from last season, five of whom were ahead of Adam in the depth chart when last season ended. The Tips also have three younger defensemen — Carter Cochrane, Lucas Skrumeda and Jordan Wharrie — who are signed to WHL education contracts and will be looking to make the team next season.
“Austin himself felt it was time for a change,” Davidson said. “I wasn’t sure it was time for a change, but when you look at our depth on defense and needing to work a couple younger defensemen into the mix, it made sense to open up some room. We also had to open up a spot (on the 50-player protected list) for the Euro draft, and this allows us to draft somebody.
“He indicated at the end of the year he was concerned about where he might fit in this year,” Davidson added. “He’s been here for three years and he was a healthy scratch for much of the last month of the season. He’s a very good young man and we’re very appreciative of what he’s done for us here in Everett. But it was in his best interests to start fresh somewhere else.”
With Adam traded, the Tips have five defensemen returning from last season. Ben Betker is an overager who was drafted by the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers in 2013, but has not yet signed a contract. The other returners are Mirco Mueller and Cole MacDonald, who will be 19-year-olds, and 17-year-olds Juulsen and Kevin Davis.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.