The Everett Silvertips’ Olen Zellweger maneuvers around a Vancouver Giants defender during a strong first period for the Silvertips in the first round of the WHL playoffs Friday, April 22, 2022, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Ducks send star defenseman Zellweger back to Silvertips

The 19-year-old standout and reigning WHL Defenseman of the Year should provide Everett with a huge boost.

EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips are getting their star player back for the 2022-23 season, and they’re getting him back much earlier than expected.

Olen Zellweger, the reigning WHL Defenseman of the Year, is on his way back to Everett after being reassigned by the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

Zellweger, a 19-year-old from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, is coming off a season in which he registered 14 goals and 64 assists in 55 games for Everett en route to winning the Bill Hunter Trophy as the league’s top blueliner. He then went on to star for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships in August, posting two goals and nine assists in seven games as Canada claimed the gold medal.

Zellweger was selected in the second round of the 2021 NHL draft by Anaheim, and he was considered a legitimate contender to make the rebuilding Ducks for the upcoming season — because he was drafted out of the WHL he’s only eligible to play his 19-year-old season in either the NHL or WHL, not in the minors.

Zellweger seemed to reinforce his NHL credentials during his two preseason appearances with the Ducks. He averaged more than 21 minutes of ice time, saw extensive time on both the power play and penalty kill, and produced a highlight-reel assist on what proved to be Ryan Strome’s game-winning goal in Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

It was believed Zellweger would at least get into some regular season games with Anaheim before being sent back to Everett, as players are allowed to appear in up to nine games before the first year of their entry-level contracts kick in. However, the offseason acquisitions of defensemen John Klingberg and Dmitry Kulikov appear designed to give Zellweger, who’s on the small side at 5-foot-10 and 182 pounds, another year of physical development at the junior level.

Getting Zellweger back is a boon for Everett. The Tips lost a big chunk of the team that won the U.S. Division championship last season. But now the Tips have both of their co-MVPs back in Zellweger and leading goals scorer Jackson Berezowski, meaning Everett is better equipped to compete in what’s expected to be a strong division.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Cascade’s Aidan Kopra and Stanwood’s Gary Grisham wrestle for a loose ball during a game Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, at Cascade High School in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
GALLERY: Big 4th quarter lifts Stanwood boys over Cascade

The Spartans outscore the Bruins 33-18 in the final quarter to rally for a 64-54 win.

Prep roundup for Thursday, Dec. 8

Prep roundup for Thursday, Dec. 8: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Nov. 28-Dec. 4

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Nov. 28-Dec. 4. Voting closes… Continue reading

Washington guard Jamal Bey drives with the basketball against Colorado guard Luke O'Brien during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)
Washington, Gonzaga set to meet for first time since 2018

UW travels to face No. 18 Gonzaga on Friday night. It will be the Bulldogs’ first game against a state foe in two years.

FILE - Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer paces the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. DeBoer earned AP All-Pac-12 coach of the year honors on Thursday, Dec. 8. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
UW’s DeBoer named AP Pac-12 Coach of the Year

Six Huskies and one Cougar are named to either the first or second All-Pac-12 teams.

Seattle Seahawks running back Tony Jones Jr. runs with the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Seahawks backfield depth getting tested entering stretch run

Tony Jones Jr., claimed off waivers in October, could play a key role for the team over the next couple of games.

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of USA perform during the ice dance free dance of the ISU figure skating Grand Prix Espoo 2022 competition in Espoo, Finland, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Hawayek and Baker came second in the event.  (Mikko Stig/Lehtikuva via AP)
Community roundup: Baker qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Plus, Meadowdale grad Rover Stewart is named the NWAC Athlete of the Year, Aussie football is coming to Lake Stevens and more.

Seattle Mariners players including, from left, Cal Raleigh, Paul Sewald, J.P. Crawford, Eugenio Suarez and Adam Frazier celebrate after a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, in Seattle. The Mariners won 3-0. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Have the Mariners done enough to keep pace in the rugged AL West?

Seattle has a wide gap to close if it wants to catch the Astros. Meanwhile, the Rangers and Angels are bolstering their rosters.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) runs with the ball as Los Angeles Rams safety Nick Scott defends during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Seahawks WR Lockett moves up team record books

The consistent veteran is now third in all-time receptions and second in receiving TDs.

Most Read