By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
Everett swung a major deal at Monday’s trade deadline, sending winger Kellan Tochkin and defenseman Alex Theriau to Medicine Hat in exchange for center Ryan Harrison and a second-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft.
Tips general manager Doug Soetaert stated previously that he didn’t intend on making any kind of splash at the trade deadline. However, he decided to take a significant plunge, dealing away two of Everett’s higher-profile players in exchange for a player he’s admired for a while.
“We really liked Ryan Harrison,” Soetaert explained. “He competes hard and plays with a lot of desire. He’s a player we identified who can come in and be part of the identity we want to build.
“Medicine Hat has a pretty good club and (the Tigers) felt they needed a defenseman,” Soetaert added. “They couldn’t just move a forward for a defenseman, they needed a forward in return. That’s why it became two-for-one with the pick, they acquired two valuable players.”
In giving up Tochkin and Theriau the Tips surrendered a pair of lineup fixtures.
Tochkin, a 19-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., was Everett’s first-round pick in the 2006 bantam draft. Since joining the Tips in 2008-09 he’s been a point-per-game player, and this season he was Everett’s second-leading scorer with 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 38 games. Passed over in the 2009 NHL draft, he signed a free-agent contract with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks shortly after the draft.
“I had a feeling someone was going to be traded, but I didn’t know who,” Tochkin said. “I was kind of surprised it was me.
“I’ve been part of this organization for five years and I’ve loved every minute of it, so I’m a little bit sad,” Tochkin added. “But it’s part of the game, and hopefully I’ll have a good second half of the year in Medicine Hat.”
Theriau was one of the centerpieces in the 2009 trade in which Everett sent star winger Kyle Beach to Lethbridge. Theriau, an 18-year-old from Duncan, B.C., was Lethbridge’s first-round pick in the 2007 bantam draft. Following his first full season with the Tips in 2009-10 he was selected in the fourth round of the NHL draft by the Dallas Stars. This season he had seven assists in 37 games, but was a team-worst minus-18.
“It came as a shock to me,” Theriau said. “I’m sad to be leaving Everett, I love it here. I love the fans and the environment and the team. It’s going to be tough to leave, but Medicine Hat is a good team and I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Harrison, an 18-year-old from Kelowna, B.C., is in his third season in the WHL. He spent his first two seasons with Prince Albert, which picked him in the second round of the 2007 bantam draft. During the offseason he was dealt to Medicine Hat, and in 40 games with the Tigers he had 13 goals, 20 assists and 47 penalty minutes.
Harrison, who is scheduled to arrive in Everett on Wednesday, is described as a hard-nosed player who should be a good fit for coach Craig Hartsburg’s pressuring style.
“He plays a hard, in-your-face kind of hockey,” said Soetaert, who’s admired Harrison since the time he was a bantam player. “He just competes, and he has decent numbers. He’s a guy who’s got some pushback to his game, and we’ve been looking for that.”
Soetaert also had an eye toward the future with the deal. Harrison is a year younger than Tochkin, and there’s a good chance he’s still in the WHL for his overage season. Also, the Tips were short on picks for the upcoming bantam draft, having dealt away their second and third rounders. The acquired draft pick helps fill that void.
The loss of Theriau leaves the Tips a bit short on defense as overager Chad Suer is expected to miss another month because of a broken jaw. Soetaert said he likes what he’s seen from 18-year-old Kieran Friesen, who was called up at the start of the second half to help fill in for players away at international tournaments. Rookies Evan Morden and Nick Walters will also be given added responsibilities.
Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog: http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog