EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips are starting 2019 with a bang.
On New Year’s Day, Everett acquired overage forward Zack Andrusiak from their archrival, Seattle, in exchange for overage forward Sean Richards, a second-round pick in 2019, a third-round pick in 2021, listed prospect Brendan Williamson and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2022.
“I think we’ve acquired a top-six guy that’s a finisher and a natural goal scorer,” Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson said of Andrusiak, who has 27 goals and 12 assists for the Thunderbirds this season. “We anticipate he’ll come in and score for us and also have an impact on our power play. … I still think from time-to-time we don’t finish well, so we thought that was a necessity to add a top-six guy that could do that.”
Andrusiak, 20, was a point-per-game player for Seattle last year, with 74 points (36 goals and 38 assists) in 72 games. He’s primarily a left winger, but can play either wall for the most part. He’s been on a tear lately, recording six goals over the past two games, including four against Portland on Dec. 29.
To open up a 20-year-old spot, Everett swapped its own overage forward in Richards. The St. Albert, Alberta, native was a productive player, recording 18 points in 27 games for the Silvertips this season, but ultimately his repeat offender label due to five suspensions over the past two seasons overshadowed his time in Everett.
“We gave up a guy that’s contributed nicely in the last couple of seasons,” Davidson said, “but also with Sean’s five suspensions in the last year and a half, we were very concerned that if he continued to play the way he does, which is an asset because he plays on the edge and he plays hard, but if he gets in any more scrapes here in the second half he could be suspended for many, many games.”
Both of Richards’ suspensions in 2018-2019 were for hits against Thunderbirds players.
The Silvertips made a number of minor trades with Seattle with Russ Farwell as the Thunderbirds general manager, but this is one of the biggest the two organizations have pulled off. Bil La Forge, Everett’s former director of player personnel, took over the reins in Seattle this season and the relationship has improved.
“It’s always difficult trading with your rival, especially just right down the road,” Davidson said. “Obviously Bil had an impact on that.”
Williamson was listed last year by La Forge, according to Davidson, and boasts 36 points in 24 games for the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds. The conditional pick in 2021 is contingent on Williamson signing.
Davidson also confirmed on Tuesday that Everett would be without two 19-year-old forwards for the foreseeable future.
Riley Sutter is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury sustained in the Silvertips’ 6-1 win over Prince George on Saturday. Akash Bains (lower body) is undergoing surgery on Jan. 7 and is likely out for the season. He’s dealt with a nagging lower-body injury all year.
The injuries may prompt more action from Everett on the trade market.
“We still probably have to add at least one more forward because of the injury situation here,” Davidson said.
Everett and Seattle play next on Feb. 1 in Kent and play the following day in Everett.