Once again the Tri-City Americans and Lethbridge Hurricanes hooked up on a blockbuster trade that involved one of the league’s top offensive players.

Two years ago the Americans acquired sniper Colton Yellow Horn from Lethbridge. This time Tri-City picked up playmaker Mitch Fadden from the Hurricanes.

Tri-City acquired Fadden, a 20-year-old center, along with 19-year-old defenseman Cam Stevens and 17-year-old defenseman Brock Sutherland, in exchange for 18-year-old defenseman Eric Mestery and 20-year-old center Drew Hoff.

Yellow Horn ended up tallying 88 goals and 86 assists in his two seasons with the Americans. Tri-City is hoping for more of the same from Fadden. The former Seattle Thunderbird had 70 goals and 103 assists the past two seasons for Lethbridge. His addition gives Tri-City an explosive trio of overage forwards in Fadden, Jason Reese and Taylor Procyshen.

“I talked to (the Hurricanes) and told them I wanted to be moved,” Fadden told the Tri-City Herald. “I needed a fresh start. I wasn’t playing as well as I could have. I’m excited to come back to the Western Conference. I was happy it was Tri-City, it’s a team I wanted to go to. For both sides, I think it worked out really well.”

For Lethbridge the prize was Mestery. The smooth-skating 6-foot-5 Mestery was a second-round pick by the Washington Capitals in this summer’s NHL draft, and the Hurricanes believe they’ve acquired a top-end defenseman who will contribute for two seasons. The Hurricanes have plenty of offensive firepower, making Fadden expendable.

“Our situation is (defenseman) Luca Sbisa is still with the (NHL’s Philadelphia) Flyers,” Lethbridge general manager Roy Stasiuk told the Tri-City Herald. “We went through the teams to see what there was. I talked to Bob (Tory, Tri-City’s general manager) and I let him know we were willing to pay a pretty good price to address our needs.”

So far so good for Tri-City as Fadden notched five assists in his first three games with the Americans. If he turns out to be another Yellow Horn, Tri-City may have just found the piece needed to make a run to the Memorial Cup.

Around the WHL: Former Everett Silvertips goaltender Matt Esposito was on the move as the 19-year-old was traded from Chilliwack along with a fourth-round pick in the 2010 bantam draft to Prince Albert in exchange for 19-year-old forward Andy Smith. Esposito has been holding out since the beginning of the season. … Bitter rivals Regina and Moose Jaw hooked up on a rare trade, the Warriors addressing their goaltending situation by acquiring 18-year-old Jeff Bosch from the Pats in exchange for 18-year-old forward Neal Prokop. … Swift Current reassigned 17-year-old forward Oliver Jokel, who was scoreless in 14 games, to his junior team in his native Slovakia. The move freed up a roster spot for 18-year-old forward Matt Ius, acquired from Everett last week. … Ed Chynoweth, the legendary WHL executive, was inducted posthumously into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Chynoweth, the longtime WHL president, died of cancer in April. … Kamloops center C.J. Stretch was named the WHL Player of the Week. Stretch had one goal and eight assists as the Blazers went 2-1-0-1.

League leaders: Points — Jamie Benn (Kelowna), Jason Reese (Tri-City), Evander Kane (Vancouver) 32; goals — Benn 18; assists — Casey Pierro-Zabotel (Vancouver) 23; penalty minutes — Ian Schultz (Calgary) 68; wins — Braden Holtby (Saskatoon) 12; goals against average — Jamie Tucker (Vancouver) 1.44; save percentage — Dustin Tokarski (Spokane) .947.

Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog: http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog

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