The Silvertips’ Kyle Beach during a game against the Winterhawks in 2008. (Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald)

The Silvertips’ Kyle Beach during a game against the Winterhawks in 2008. (Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald)

Patterson: Biggest trade in Tips history is a wrap at last

Looking at the final results of the huge Kyle Beach deal that happened in 2009 and had lingering effects.

The time has arrived to answer a question about the Everett Silvertips that’s lingered for more than a decade.

Did the Tips win the Kyle Beach trade?

On Friday the Tips announced they waived 20-year-old defenseman Dylan Anderson in order to get down to their limit of three overage players. While that move forced Everett to say an emotional goodbye to a longtime servant while firming up the roster for the 2022-23 season, it also put a cap on arguably the biggest blockbuster trade in Everett franchise history. When the Tips traded Beach to Lethbridge in 2009, it initiated a sequence of deals that caused the Beach trade tree to grow and blossom over the course of 13 years. Anderson was the last remaining branch, at least on Everett’s side.

Which means we can now evaluate the results of the initial trade. What kind of value did the Tips get when they traded their star winger in exchange for a lucrative package of futures?

Here’s a quick refresher. On Jan. 6, 2009, Everett sent talented and temperamental power forward Beach and a fifth-round prospects draft pick to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in exchange for winger Dan Iwanski, highly-regarded 16-year-old defenseman Alex Theriau and a first-round draft pick that turned into defenseman Seth Jones. Both Theriau and Jones were later traded themselves, spawning a trade tree that consisted of eight trades and 26 players as it wove a vine through franchise history (in 2017 I penned a column exploring the calculus behind the trade, it’s linked in the online version of the story and serves as a good reference).

So how does one determine which side won? For this purpose I decided to turn it into a numbers game. I took the players from each side of the trades — 16 for Everett and 16 for the other teams, with six appearing on both sides because they were first acquired by Everett in trades that were a part of this trade tree, then later traded away — and tabulated their numbers. On the Everett side I counted the number of games, goals and assists accrued during the players’ time with the Tips, and on the other side I added up the games, goals and assists during the remainder of their WHL careers following the trades.

Here’s what I found. On Everett’s side the players combined to appear in 1,646 games with the Tips, tallying 256 goals and 503 assists for 759 points. The most games were the 226 from forward Dawson Leedahl (selected with a second-round pick acquired in the deal that sent Theriau and forward Kellan Tochkin to the Medicine Hat Tigers in 2011). The most points were the 103 amassed by forward Ryan Harrison (the other piece acquired by Everett in that 2011 deal with Medicine Hat).

On the other side the players combined for 1,035 games, registering 262 goals and 418 assists for 680 points. The most games were the 198 played by forward Tyler Sandhu (who was acquired by Everett as one of four pieces in the 2012 trade that sent Jones to the Portland Winterhawks, then later traded to the Red Deer Rebels in 2014 for a pair of draft picks). Points? Well, it’s none other than Beach, who had 119 in his season-and-a-half with Lethbridge and the Spokane Chiefs following the initial trade.

Based on this it would seem Everett came out ahead. However, remember how I said Anderson (selected with a fourth-round pick acquired along with forward Sean Richards in the deal that sent Leedahl to the Regina Pats in 2016) was the last branch on Everett’s side? Well, there are still living limbs on the other side. Forward Gabe Ludwig (selected by the Seattle Thunderbirds with a second-round pick acquired in the deal that also sent forward Sean Richards to Seattle in exchange for forward Zack Andrusiak in 2019) is active. Meanwhile, Prince Albert has three prospects who were acquired with draft picks obtained in the deal that brought forward Cole Fonstad (acquired in 2019 in a deal that sent forward Reece Vitelli to Prince Albert) to Everett: forwards Evhan Allan and Dayce Derkatch and defenseman Seth Tansem. We don’t know how much any of these players will produce in the WHL, but there’s a definite chance that their contributions will push the other teams’ point total past Everett’s.

However, points aren’t the only measure of a trade. What about team success? For this I decided to look at banners and playoff games. The 16 players on Everett’s side combined for 13 seasons that contributed to U.S. Division championships and three that were part of Western Conference titles. Defenseman Gianni Fairbrother (selected with a fourth-round draft pick acquired when Everett traded Sandhu to Red Deer), led the way as he was a part of three division titles and the 2018 Western Conference champions. Fairbrother, Vitelli (selected with the other fourth-round pick acquired in the Sandhu trade) and Richards (see the Anderson trade above) tied for the most postseason games for the Tips with 32.

How about the 16 players with other teams? They come in with three division banners, two conference titles and one WHL championship. Jones accounted for much of that himself when he won all three with Portland in 2012-13. As for the playoffs, those players combined for 137 games.

In terms of team success it’s a significant edge to Everett.

Now, once again one has to take into account that there are four players who are still active on the others’ side, so the gap could close. But on the Tips’ side we have to consider that they had three players — Fairbrother, Fonstad and Anderson — who were major contributors in 2019-20 and 2020-21, when there was no postseason because of the coronavirus pandemic. Everett had championship-caliber teams both years, and if everything went right the Tips could have an additional 100 playoff games on their side of the ledger, which would put the total virtually out of reach even with the others having four players who could add to their total.

So how did it all turn out? Can we claim a winner in the Kyle Beach trade? Honestly, I think it was pretty even. Everett has an edge in points and team success, but the others have a good chance of passing the Tips on points, and Tansem in particular looks like a good prospect for Prince Albert.

The biggest question for Everett is: Did the Tips get equal value for Beach? When a WHL team feels like it needs to trade a star, is it able to gain assets that help toward future success? Well, Leedahl and defenseman Ben Betker (acquired in the trade that sent Jones to Portland) were key factors when Everett ended its string of seven straight first-round playoff exits in 2015. Fairbrother and Fonstad were co-captains when the Tips claimed the 2021 U.S. Division banner during the COVID-shortened developmental season. Each of those players was a Silvertip as a direct result of the Beach trade.

The Kyle Beach trade may be over for the Everett Silvertips, and I’d stop short of saying Everett won it in the long run. But the Tips did all right, and the fruits of that trade will forever have their fingerprints stamped on the franchise’s legacy.

Follow Nick Patterson on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

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