The Everett Silvertips traded 18-year-old defenseman Kyle Walker to Regina on Thursday for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 Western Hockey League bantam draft.
Everett general manager Garry Davidson announced the trade.
With the impending addition of overage defenseman Artyom Minulin, acquired last week in a trade with Swift Current, the road map to playing time was becoming more muddled for Walker, a native of Leduc, Alberta.
“From his perspective, he needed to be somewhere where he had an expanded role and opportunity,” Davidson said.
Walker, an undrafted free-agent signee by the Silvertips in 2016, did not record a point in 14 games with Everett this season. He potted a goal and chipped in six assists in 50 games with the Silvertips last season.
He should be presented with a greater opportunity with the Pats.
“Kyle went home this offseason and committed,” Davidson said. “(He) got in real good shape and toned himself. He’s going to a situation with a good organization that has a real need and he’ll be given lots of opportunity. So hopefully Kyle takes the ball and runs with it, so to speak. He’ll be a big part of what they’re doing this year and an even bigger part next year.”
Louis Mass, who runs Everett’s defense, repeated Davidson’s sentiment.
“Trades don’t always mean it’s a player you want to get rid of,” Mass said. “A lot of times when you’re doing these things you’re trying to make your team better, but a lot of the time you’re trying to do what’s right for the kid. Kyle is a great kid and a great teammate here. He’ll be missed as a part of our group, but sometimes we have to make decisions for the benifit of these young kids some of the time. We have a really deep D-group here and he deserves to play minutes.”
Meanwhile, Minulin, a Russian native, has obtained his P-1 athletic visa from the U.S. consulate in Calgary and is eligible to make his Silvertips debut Friday at Kamloops, Davidson said. Minulin was expected to join the team Thursday night in Kamloops.
“He’s picking up his passport and visas this afternoon and is available on a permanent basis now,” Davidson said Thursday.
There was some worry that Minulin’s visa wouldn’t be processed in time for him to make the trip with the Silvertips down to Kent to play the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday, and he’d have to stay back in Kamloops to wait for Sunday’s game against the Blazers.
Davidson was scouting the Under-17 Hockey Challenge earlier in the week in New Brunswick and on Thursday was at a bantam tournament in Calgary, so Silvertips chief operation officer Zoran Rajcic hopped across the border to help expedite the process.
“That’s part of the way we roll,” Davidson said. “(Rajcic) has always been very helpful in some of the administrative things and on the hockey side he helps us quite a bit. Obviously business is his main focus, but he helps us out when needed.
“It’s called team work.”
Anderson relishing part-time callup
Dylan Anderson, a 17-year-old defenseman, was called up by the Silvertips this week to add depth as Minulin’s visa situation was being sorted out. He’s been a swing player with Everett this season and will be, barring any injuries, reassigned to his school team, Yale Hockey Academy Prep in Abbottsford, British Columbia — which is about 90 minutes from Everett, once rookie defenseman Ronan Seeley returns from the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge in New Brunswick next week.
For now he’s savoring the level of competition in Everett.
“It’s definitely tough going back and forth from school and here, but it’s always fun stepping in here and competing at the WHL level,” Anderson said. “It’s just an awesome feeling. … Practicing here and coming down and showing the coaches what I’m made of is something that I love to do. Show them that I’m ready and I’m worth being around here.”
Dewar, Sutter return to practice
After representing Team WHL for the Canada/Russia Series on Monday and Tuesday, Silvertips forwards Connor Dewar and Riley Sutter were back in Everett skating with the team in preparation for it’s slate of three games in three days, starting at Kamloops on Friday.
“It was pretty fun getting to know some of the guys in the league that you hate to play against every night,” Dewar said. “It’s hard to takeaway something from such a short amount of time, it was a lot at once, but it was a fun experience that not a lot of guys get to do.”
"Alexa, show me an unreal Connor Dewar pass."
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) November 6, 2018