Everett made a significant trade this morning, sending 18-year-old defenseman Nick Walters to Brandon along with 16-year-old prospect forward Taylor Sanheim.
In return, the Tips received 17-year-old defenseman Ayrton Nikkel and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. With Ryan Murray out for the season, Walters, a former first-round bantam pick, was the last NHL-drafted player on Everett’s roster.
Here is the Silvertips’ press release announcing the trade:
EVERETT – The Everett Silvertips today announced a trade that will bring 1995-born defenseman Ayrton Nikkel and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft to Everett from the Brandon Wheat Kings in exchange for Silvertips defenseman Nick Walters and prospect forward Taylor Sanheim.
Nikkel, 17, is currently in his second WHL season after breaking in with the Wheat Kings last year. In 42 games with Brandon this season, the Kelowna, BC native has recorded nine assists and 87 penalty minutes, including nine fighting majors. Originally selected by Saskatoon in the second round (#42 overall) of the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft, Nikkel played one game with the Blades as a 15-year-old before heading to Brandon as part of the trade that sent Brayden Schenn to Saskatoon.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound blueliner played 59 games as a rookie last season, totaling ten points (3g/7a) and 72 penalty minutes for the Wheat Kings. In 103 career regular season games, Nikkel has 19 points (3g/16a) and 159 penalty minutes. He also appeared in all nine games of Brandon’s 2012 playoff run to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
“We’re happy to welcome a young, hard-nosed player like Ayrton to our lineup,” said General Manager Garry Davidson. “He is a gritty player who we feel has the potential to become a well-rounded defenseman that could play in all situations for us. We also would like to thank Nick for his contributions as a Silvertip and wish him well in Brandon.”
Walters, 18, departs Everett having played 145 games with the club since the 2010-11 season. Hailing from St. Albert, Alberta, he has posted ten points (1g/9a) and 70 penalty minutes in 35 appearances with the Silvertips this year. One of two Silvertips first-round picks in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, Walters was then selected by the St. Louis Blues in the fourth round (#116 overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. His WHL career totals include seven goals and 25 assists for 32 points to go with 217 penalty minutes.
Sanheim is an Everett list player currently spending his 16-year-old season with the Yellowhead Chiefs of the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League. The 5-foot-9 forward from Elkhorn, Manitoba has 51 points in 43 games this season.