EVERETT – The Everett Silvertips made a big move in the effort to improve their offensive production Sunday when they announced they have acquired overage forward Dominic Zwerger from the Spokane Chiefs for a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft.
— Spokane Chiefs (@spokanechiefs) September 25, 2016
Zwerger, who turned 20 in July, is a native of Dornbirn, Austria. That makes him a “two-spotter,” meaning he takes one of Everett’s three overage slots and one of Everett’s two European slots. To make room the Tips have waived Slovakian forward Mario Mucka, a 1998-born forward they took in the second round of this year’s CHL import draft.
“(Zwerger) is a guy that has played in the league for three years so he’s very experienced and each year he has pushed up his offensive production,” Everett general manager Garry Davidson said. “We anticipate he will provide offense for us, which is something we had identified as something we needed to try to add a bit of that if we could.”
The 6-foot, 200-pound Zwerger led the Chiefs in goals with 27 last season and was second in points with 55. In 189 regular-season WHL games Zwerger has scored 60 goals with 59 assists. He also has four goals and three assists in 16 postseason games. He was named Spokane’s Rookie of the Year following the 2013-14 season. Zwerger was a member of the Austrian team at the World Junior Division I Tournament held in his home country last season.
The Silvertips have had an open overage slot since releasing Brandon Ralph during the preseason. Zwerger joins forward Graham Millar and Lucas Skrumeda as Everett’s overage players.
“There were a couple of 20-year-old Euros available and we decided to move on him,” Davidson said. “We’re excited to acquire him.”
Everett has been looking to add complementary offensive pieces after scoring the second-fewest goals in the league a season ago. The Tips graduated three of their top five point producers in Remi Laurencelle, Carson Stadnyk and Cole MacDonald, and traded away first-line right winger and captain Dawson Leedahl.
Mucka had an assist in his lone WHL game during Everett’s 7-3 win over the Vancouver Giants Friday in Langley, B.C., and will go on WHL waivers Monday. If he goes unclaimed, his options for remaining in North America this year are playing in the United States Hockey League or the North American Hockey League.
“When we picked (Mucka) we weren’t sure where he was at in his development and how he was going to contribute,” Davidson said. “We’re adding a proven guy and letting an unproven guy go.”
Davidson also said the team has sent 16-year-old defenseman Gianni Fairbrother back to the midget level for the time being. Fairbrother played in three playoff games last spring, but was a healthy scratch in Everett’s first two regular-season games this season.
In moving Fairbrother the Tips opened up room for blueliner Mackenzie Dwyer, who was has been cleared to return to full contact practice this week. Dwyer tore his ACL in January.
For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter @jessegeleynse.