Trade deadline thread (update, 2:00)

The WHL trade deadline arrives at 2 p.m. PST today. Quite a lot has happened already, highlighted by yesterday’s eight-for-one deal in which Kootenay acquired center Cody Eakin from Swift Current, as well as heavy rumors of Saskatoon

picking up center Brayden Schenn from Brandon. As can be seen, the price for premium players is sky high, higher than I’ve ever seen in the eight years I’ve been around the WHL.

Will Everett get involved? Tips general manager Doug Soetaert has claimed he won’t, at least not in any major way. But Soetaert has never been one to give away his trade plans ahead of time.

I’ll try to keep this post as up-to-date as possible, and I’ll also keep my Twitter page updated (NickHPatterson) with today’s major goings on — with the caveat that I’ve got an early evening appointment to deal with, so if the trade announcements linger I’ll have a bit of a time gap. The WHL website has a draft tracker if you want to keep tabs yourself, though in the past many trades were announced by the teams involved before the league posted them. Alan Caldwell’s blog is also a good source for deadline day information and analysis.

Let the fun begin!

— UPDATE, 11:30 a.m.

Nothing yet from anywhere in the league. However, reports are that Saskatoon has sealed a deal for the biggest fish, Brayden Schenn from Brandon. The Blades have a press conference scheduled. No word yet on what’s heading the other way, but I’m certain it will be a lot.

In non-trade deadline news, the NHL Central Scouting Bureau has released its midterm rankings for the 2011 NHL draft. No Everett players are listed among the 212 North Americans skaters or 34 North American goalies. This is not a surprise as Everett’s draft-eligible players would need to improve significantly the rest of the season to get on the NHL radar. Everett’s 2012 NHL Draft class, headlined by Ryan Murray, is much more promising.

— UPDATE, 12:05 p.m.

The Schenn trade has been announced, and it’s a whopper. Saskatoon gets Schenn and a third-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. Brandon gets Saskatoon’s top two picks from the past bantam draft, forward Tim McGauley and defenseman Ayrton Nikkel. The Wheat Kings also get first- and second-round bantam picks in 2011, a first rounder in 2012, and a first-round import draft pick in 2012. Man, that’s a lot. Look for Saskatoon to be title contenders this year, and look for Brandon to be a powerhouse in 2014-15.

Everett’s U.S. Division rival, Seattle, also made a move. The T-birds picked up 19-year-old defenseman Ryan Button from Prince Albert in exchange for 19-year-old winger Charles Wells, a first-round pick in the 2011 import draft and a conditional pick in the 2012 bantam draft. I imagine that conditional pick is based on who comes back as an overager next season. I think this indicates Seattle is not a seller at the deadline and therefore will continue to be among the teams Everett must fight it out with to make the playoffs.

No signs of anything happening with the Tips yet.

— UPDATE, 2:00 p.m.

The 2:00 p.m. deadline has arrived, and nothing from the Tips. It’s not official yet, however, as oftentimes last-minute deals get held up for administrative reasons.

Nothing else major from the rest of the league yet, either. Seattle picked up another d-man, getting 18-year-old Mitch Spooner from a conditional fifth rounder in 2012. Moose Jaw upgraded an overage spot by acquiring 19-year-old forward Sebastian Svendsen from Prince Albert for 17-year-old forward Michal Hlinka and third and sixth rounders in the 2011.

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