EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips opened the second half of the WHL season by shaking up their goaltending.
Everett made a significant change when the WHL season resumed Tuesday following the holiday break, trading No. 1 goaltender Braden Holt to the Victoria Royals in exchange for goaltender Tyler Palmer.
The deal is a classic change-of-scenery-trade as it sees both teams dealing their 19-year-old starter whose numbers have slipped this season.
“We’d like to thank Braden for his time and efforts in Everett,” Everett general manager Dennis Williams, who is away as he coaches Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships, said in a press release. “He has been a staple in our community. Braden is a model citizen and we wish him all the best in Victoria.”
The Silvertips hoped Holt would step in as a workhorse No. 1 netminder this season. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound native of Bozeman, Montana, who was a 12th-round pick in the 2018 prospects draft, spent the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons as the backup before splitting duties down the middle with Koen MacInnes last season. Last season he was 24-6-2-2 with a 2.56 goals against average and .909 save percentage as Everett finished with the best record in the Western Conference.
Holt took over as the full-time starter this season, starting 28 of Everett’s 31 games in the first half. He experienced ups and downs, going 13-13-1-0 with a 3.57 goals against average and .892 save percentage as Everett went 16-14-1-0 in the first half.
Meanwhile, Palmer had taken the brunt of the burden with a Victoria team that’s undergoing a complete rebuild. The 5-foot-11, 198-pound native of Fernie, B.C., was 3-10-3-0 with a 4.22 goals against average and .876 save percentage for the Royals, who sit in ninth place in the 10-team Western Conference. Last season Palmer appeared in 45 games for Victoria, going 17-23-2-0 with a 3.49 goals against average and .908 save percentage.
Palmer hasn’t appeared in a game since Nov. 12. The Royals declined to comment on Palmer’s absence beyond saying he was on personal leave.
The trade leaves Everett with Palmer and Tim Metzger as its goaltenders. Metzger, a 17-year-old rookie from Switzerland who’s made just just three starts this season, is 3-1-0-0 with a 3.01 goals against average and .875 save percentage.
Everett also called up prospect defenseman Ethan Makokis for the start of the second half to help fill out a roster littered with injuries. Makokis, a 15-year-old from St. Paul, Alberta, was a fifth-round pick in the 2022 prospects draft. This season he has two goals and six assists in 18 games with the OHA Edmonton under-18 team.