WHL notebook: Giants throw in towel on season

The Vancouver Giants were the first WHL team to throw in the towel on the 2012-13 season.

Already flailing in the standings, Vancouver made three trades last week, including shipping off two of its top players as the Giants sacrifice the present in an effort to build a brighter future.

Vancouver, which won five consecutive B.C. Division titles from 2005-10, currently finds itself in the B.C. cellar at 5-12-0-0. With little hope in sight this season, Vancouver general manager Scott Bonner held a fire sale on his most marketable assets.

The big fish came when Vancouver dealt its No. 1 defenseman, 19-tear-old David Musil, to the defending league-champion Edmonton Oil Kings. Musil, a second-round pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2011 NHL draft, adds to an already stacked defense in Edmonton. The Giants received 17-year-old defenseman Mason Geertsen, a former first-round bantam pick, and a first-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft in return.

The other big deal came when the Giants sent 19-year-old center Nathan Burns to the Saskatoon Blades, who are hosting this season’s Memorial Cup. The Blades, who are struggling themselves and scrambling to put together a team worthy of playing in the Memorial Cup, paid a steep price for Burns, a player who has just 10 points in 17 games this season and had a mere 34 points in 55 games last season. Vancouver received 18-year-old center Travis McEvoy, a first-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft and a third rounder in 2013 in return.

Vancouver’s other trade had more to do with moving a disgruntled player as the Giants shipped 18-year-old center Austin Vetterl to Kootenay in exchange for a pair of 17-year-old prospects, winger Douglas Morris and defenseman Kyle Krabben.

“Moving David was a hard thing to do,” Bonner said in a press release following the Musil trade. “However, with the current stage in our system, it was important to acquire a 17-year-old prospect as well as a first-round pick to rebuild the program.”

The Giants still have one more veteran coveted by other teams in 19-year-old import winger Marek Tvrdon. It seems just a matter of time before Tvrdon is moved, and if Vancouver can receive a similar haul for Tvrdon as it did for Musil and Burns, the Giants will have set themselves up nicely for the future.

Around the WHL

Team BC claimed the Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup by defeating Alberta 9-3 in the championship game. Everett Silvertips prospect Kevin Davis, a 15-year-old defenseman who was the team’s first-round pick in this year’s bantam draft, was a member of Team BC and had an assist in the championship game. … The Kelowna Rockets ended Kamloops’ franchise-record 14-game winning streak when they beat the Blazers 3-0 last Thursday. Former Silvertip winger Cody Fowlie scored twice for the Rockets. … Tri-City’s Justin Feser was named the WHL Player of the Week. The 20-year-old center had five goals and three assists as the Americans went 3-0. … Kamloops’ JC Lipon was named the WHL Player of the Month for September/October. The 19-year-old winger had 16 goals and 24 assists in 17 games. … Medicine Hat’s Cam Lanigan was named the WHL Goalie of the Month for September/October. The 20-year-old went 6-1-0-0 with a 1.80 goals against average and .941 save percentage in nine games between Medicine Hat and Portland.

League leaders

Points — JC Lipon (Kamloops) 40; goals — Lipon 16; assists — Colin Smith (Kamloops) 26; penalty minutes — Ryley Miller (Brandon), Darian Henry (Calgary) 51; wins — Cole Cheveldave (Kamloops) 12; goals against average — Cheveldave 1.94; save percentage — Cam Lanigan (Medicine Hat) .939.

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

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