The Silvertips’ overage crunch isn’t all the way relieved, but Everett took a significant step in whittling down the 20-year-old players on its roster to the allotted three by trading 1999-born forward Robbie Holmes back to the Regina Pats in exchange for a fifth-round pick and a sixth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft, the league announced on Thursday.
Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson said Regina expressed an interest in bringing Holmes back and Davidson struck a deal. Holmes was not guarenteed a spot on the Silvertips’ roster with up to seven overagers competing for just three spots and with a surplus of 1999-born players throughout the league.
“It’s always difficult,” Davidson said. “But I think that’s a little bit of the issue with our league, is last year there was hardly any (1998-born) players available. This year, there seems to be a few more 99s avaiable, and as you know, we have more than three and three are ones we’ve grown and drafted.”
The Silvertips now feature at least five — and potentially six — incoming overagers on its preseason roster — defensemen Wyatte Wylie and Jake Christiansen, and forwards Bryce Kindopp, Max Patterson and Lucas Cullen. Wylie, Christiansen and Kindopp were drafted by the Silvertips and have spent their entire careers with the club, while Patterson and Cullen were added last year — Patterson through a trade with Swift Current and Cullen through an addition to Everett’s protected list. Akash Bains, who missed most of last season after knee surgery, also expressed interest in returning, according to Davidson.
Western Hockey League rules allow teams just three players 20 and older on their rosters, determined by their birthday at the start of the calendar year. Teams have until mid-October to reduce their number of overage players to three.
Holmes, a 19-year-old winger from Sherwood Park, Alberta, was acquired by Everett on trade deadline day (Jan. 10) during the 2018-2019 season and recorded 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 26 games for the Silvertips. He was a standout for Everett during the postseason, registering eight points in 10 games, as well as providing a physical style of play.
Davidson called Holmes “a heckuva player” and praised him for his locker room presence.
“Robbie was real plus for us,” Davidson said. “I really liked his game and he played a big, physical up-and-down type of game. And I thought he was a nice piece that we added. … I hope he does that well back there in Regina. He’s a super nice young man off the ice as well.”
The 11th-round pick by Regina in the 2014 bantam draft, Holmes played his first three-and-a-half season with the Pats and played in the 2018 Memorial Cup when Regina was the host team.
The trade allowed Everett to restock its cupboard in terms of draft picks in 2020. Before Thursday, the Silvertips were without picks in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.
Everett recoups two of those.
“I think we did all right on the value for an up-and-down, physical forward,” Davidson said. “And we still have more housekeeping to do. I didn’t want to end up on October 10th having too many guys and now there is no landing spots for people, because then there’s little value for them.”
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