Silvertips trade for goalie Heemskerk

EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips’ biggest area of concern this season has been goaltending.

On Tuesday the Tips took a step toward remedying that situation.

Everett made a play to upgrade its goaltending by acquiring 18-year-old Thomas Heemskerk from the Kootenay Ice in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2010 bantam draft.

Neither general manager Doug Soetaert nor coach John Becanic was made available to comment on the trade.

Heemskerk, a 6-foot, 170-pound native of Chilliwack, B.C., is in his second season in the WHL. A player who went unselected in the bantam draft, he was solid as Kootenay’s backup last season, going 15-4-2-1 with a 2.65 goals against average and .906 save percentage.

This season Heemskerk began in a 50-50 split of Kootenay’s goaltending duties with 17-year-old Nathan Lieuwen, going 7-6-2-2 with a 2.88 goals against average and .887 save percentage. However, he left the team in early December, saying his heart was no longer in the game.

However, Heemskerk is scheduled to arrive in Everett tonight and join the team for the first time Thursday in practice. There was no word on whether Heemskerk would assume the No. 1 role.

Goaltending has been an issue for Everett since before the season began. Nineteen-year-old Shayne Barrie had one season as a backup under his belt, and Kent Simpson was a 16-year-old rookie. Both Barrie and Simpson have had their moments this season, but neither has been consistently reliable. Barrie is 9-9-3-0 with a 3.04 goals against average and .905 save percentate, Simpson is 7-5-2-0 with a 3.35 goals against average and .903 save percentage.

The acquisition of Heemskerk leaves the Tips with four goalies on the roster: Heemskerk, Barrie, Simpson and 18-year-old Kraymer Barnstable. Barnstable was called up at the beginning of the second half because Simpson is away representing Team Pacific at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Simpson was expected back following this weekend’s games. There was no news on how the Tips would handle their glut of goaltenders.

Slap shots: Everett defenseman Taylor Ellington sets a milestone tonight when he appears in his 251st career game with the Tips, breaking the franchise record for games played. He’s currently tied with Zach Hamill at 250. … Simpson earned the victory in goal for Team Pacific in its tournament opener Monday, stopping 25 shots in a 6-5 victory over Russia in Port Alberni, B.C. … Everett had several players show up on this week’s injury report. Forwards Daniel Bartek (knee infection) and Jordan Mistelbacher (flu), who missed both of last weekend’s games against Chilliwack, are listed as day-to-day, as is forward Kyle Beach (knee). Defenseman Mike Alexander (sprained ankle) is listed as out one week. Defenseman Shayne Brown (hip flexor) remains sidelined indefinitely.

Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog:

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