Silvertips trade for veteran defenseman

EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips signaled Wednesday that the time for rebuilding is over and the time for winning has arrived.

Everett made a move for the present at the expense of the future, acquiring veteran defenseman Matt Pufahl from the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for younger defenseman Ayrton Nikkel. The Tips also received a fifth-round pick in the 2015 Western Hockey League bantam draft.

Pufahl, a 6-foot-2, 198-pound native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, brings an experienced presence to Everett’s blue line. The three-year WHL veteran is entering his 20-year-old season, and he’s expected to bring a steady hand to Everett’s youthful defense.

Everett went with the full youth movement last season in an effort to build for the future. But acquiring Pufahl in exchange for the younger Nikkel indicates the Tips believe the future has arrived.

“With our youth on defense, I thought that if we could add a good 20-year-old back there, it would be important for us. I watched him play earlier in the year and he played very well, then our scouts in Saskatoon watched him very closely and all the reports were very positive. He also played in the Memorial Cup this year, which hopefully will help down the road as we try to make a longer run in the playoffs.”

Pufahl played 144 games between Saskatoon and Red Deer the past three seasons. Last season he had six goals and 37 assists in 69 games with the Blades.

“He’s a guy who moves the puck well, has good hockey sense, has decent size, and was very good for (the Blades) on the power play,” Davidson said. “I think he’s going to play a lot of minutes in all situations.”

In Nikkel the Tips surrender a player they barely got to know. The Kelowna, B.C., native who’s heading into his 18-year-old season was acquired by the Tips from Brandon at the Jan. 10 trade deadline in exchange for defenseman Nick Walters. He appeared in just seven games for Everett before suffering a finger injury that knocked him out for the remainder of the regular season.

“To get something you have to give up something,” Davidson said. “Ayrton Nikkel has upside and we liked what we saw, but he missed a lot of games because of the injury and we just weren’t sure what we had in him. And I really like Pufahl.”

Nikkel rejoins the team that picked him in the second round of the 2010 bantam draft.

Pufahl’s acquisition gives Everett four overagers on the roster, one more than allowed. The other three are forwards Joshua Winquist, Reid Petryk and Manraj Hayer. Petryk was invited to take part in development camp with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers this week.

“(The overager situation) is totally up in the air,” Davidson said. “Petryk is going to Edmonton’s camp and there’s been other teams that have reached out to him. We would like to get him back, but you can’t know for sure. This also gives us competition in camp, which is a healthy thing. What it does is give us a little balance, as instead of three overage forwards we can have one defenseman and two forwards.”

Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.

More in Sports

Everett’s Ondrej Vala controls the puck with Swift Current’s Beck Malenstyn trailing Sunday afternoon at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett on January 21, 2018. The Silvertips won 4-1. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Silvertips beat Swift Current, keep winning streak alive

U.S. Division-leading Everett has won seven straight WHL games

Foles, Eagles fly into Super Bowl, rout Vikings 38-7

Philadelphia is headed to the Super Bowl for the first time in 13 years

Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England climbed back from a 20-10 deficit in the fourth quarter against Jacksonville.

UW women earn their first Pac-12 victory of the season

Junior forward Hannah Johnson enjoys a career day as Washington tops Washington State, 56-49

Dedication drives local coaches into 100-Season Club

Commitment to student-athletes is a hallmark of the area’s longest-tenured coaches.

Everett’s Tori Odom, right, attempts a shot with Edmonds’ Jake Higgins defending Saturday night at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center in Everett on January 20, 2018. The Trojans won 117-100. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
EvCC races past EdCC in NWAC North showdown

Gio Jackson scores 32 points to lead the Trojans over the Tritons 117-100.

Former QB on Schottenheimer: ‘He’s a win-first’ OC

Kellen Clemens has had the new Seahawks’ play-caller as his coordinator for 7 of his 11 NFL seasons.

Huskies men overcome slow start to beat Colorado

Jaylen Nowell scores 19 points and Matisse Thybulle adds 18 in UW’s 72-62 win.

Silvertips blank Brandon Wheat Kings for 6th straight win

Carter Hart tallies his league-best sixth shutout as Everett tops Brandon 4-0.

Most Read