EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips announced a trade Friday morning when they shipped 20-year-old forward Dawson Leedahl and the rights to forward Tyson Jost to the Regina Pats for left wing Sean Richards, a fourth-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft and conditional picks.
Leedahl, a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native, served as Everett’s captain this past season. The deal didn’t catch him completely off-guard.
“I kind of knew it was coming,” Leedahl said in a phone interview Friday afternoon. “Me and (general manager) Garry (Davidson) were talking. It’s pretty sad when you leave something that’s been such a big part of your life. I was there for almost a quarter of my life and I have a lot of good memories with Everett.”
Leedahl was a key part of Everett’s renaissance the past two seasons. He was part of the “Saskatoon Platoon” line alongside fellow Saskatoon natives Kohl Bauml and Carson Stadnyk in 2014-15 when the Tips won their first U.S. Division title and first playoff series in eight years.
He scored 12 goals with 15 assists in 48 games last season despite missing more than a month with a broken hand. Leedahl returned for the postseason as the Tips again won their first-round playoff series to reach the Western Conference semifinals. Leedahl tallied 37 goals and 64 assists in 226 career games with Everett.
“He’s been a very good player for us for four years,” Davidson said. “He will certainly be missed for what he brings to the table on the ice, no question.”
Davidson added that sometimes players “are looking for a change of scenery.” That was the case with Leedahl, and appears to be a factor leading to the deal.
“That’s true,” Leedahl acknowledged. “I thought maybe for my last year I could change things up, maybe get a little spark and succeed a little more.”
Forwards Graham Millar and Brandon Ralph, and defensemen Tristen Pfeifer and Lucas Skrumeda remain the four overage candidates for three spots in 2016-17. Defenseman Brycen Martin has signed an entry-level deal with the Buffalo Sabres and is expected to play professionally this season.
Jost, 18, was the 10th overall selection in this year’s NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche. He was Everett’s seventh-overall pick in the 2013 bantam draft, but chose not to report to the Silvertips. Jost is committed to the University of North Dakota this fall after putting up 42 goals and 62 assists in 48 games for the Junior A Penticton Vees of the BCHL.
“We had an asset (in Jost) and we decided to cash it in,” Davidson said.
The addition of Richards bolsters a thin 1998-born class for the Silvertips that last season included only forwards Spencer Gerth and Yan Khomenko, and goalie Carter Hart. Khomenko, a Russian import player, was released and won’t be back. Everett selected 1998-born forwards Eetu Tuulola and Mario Mucka in this year’s CHL import draft and both are expected to join the organization this season.
Richards, from St. Albert, Alberta, scored three goals with 15 assists in 54 regular-season games with the Pats last season. He added a goal and two assists in a dozen playoff games. Richards scored 11 points in 56 games with the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlies as a 16-year-old in the 2014-15 season.
“When we started looking at teams to potentially make a deal we did our homework on those teams,” Davidson said. “We were trying to focus on a 98(-born) player and a forward, and as we moved through the process Sean Richards became the player we felt comfortable we could make a deal.
“He’ll be an 18-year-old with a year of Junior A and a year in the WHL and a winger with experience who gets around the ice well,” Davidson continued. “We feel he’s a good pickup and certainly somebody who goes well with our group this year.”
There are two scenarios on the conditional picks that are based on if and when Jost reports to Regina. If he plays this season as 18-year-old the Tips would receive Regina’s first-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Everett would then receive Regina’s 2019 first-round pick if Jost returned as a 19-year-old, and the Pats’ second-round pick in 2020 if Jost plays as a 20-year-old.
The second scenario varies somewhat. If Jost plays at the University of North Dakota this season and reports to Regina as a 19-year-old, the Tips would receive Regina’s first-round and fourth-round picks in 2019. Everett would also get the Pats’ second-round pick in 2020 if Jost played as a 20-year-old.
For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter @jessegeleynse.