The WHL’s moratorium on trades came to a thundering halt Saturday evening and the deal-making hasn’t slowed much since.
The Red Deer Rebels made the first big splash when they acquired 19-year-old forward Jake DeBrusk from the Swift Current Broncos in exchange for 18-year-old forward Lane Pederson, a 2016 third round bantam pick and a 2017 first round pick.
The Rebels are gearing up to play host to the Memorial Cup next spring. Red Deer (24-12-0-0, 48 points) is currently second to Lethbridge in both the WHL Eastern Conference and Central Division standings.
DeBrusk was the 14th overall selection in the 2015 NHL draft by the Boston Bruins and scored nine goals with 17 assists in 24 games this season for the Broncos.
On Monday it was announced the Rebels had acquired the rights to Taden Rattie from the Portland Winterhawks for a fourth-round bantam pick.
Rattie, the younger brother of St. Louis Blues prospect Ty Rattie, had committed to Western Michigan, but was expected to sign with Red Deer and join the Rebels as soon as possible.
Thunderbirds add Schumacher
Swift Current (10-21-3-1, 24 points) isn’t trying to hide its role as a seller with the Jan. 10 trade deadline approaching. The Broncos also dealt Swedish left wing Andreas Schumacher to the Seattle Thunderbirds.
In order to the get down to the league-mandated maximum of two foreign-born players the T-Birds released left wing Gustav Olhaver, who was subsequently claimed by Swift Current on waivers.
Schumacher, a native of Stenungsund, Sweden, had two goals and one assist in 17 games with the Broncos.
Tri-City acquires Stewart
The Tri-City Americans received the rights to Mackenze Stewart from the Prince Albert Raiders in exchange for defenseman Mark Drohan and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft.
The Vancouver Canucks selected Stewart in the seventh round of the 2014 draft. Stewart has spent time in the AHL and ECHL this season, but has been assigned by Vancouver to the Americans for the remainder of the season.
A glance at the U.S. Division
Parity was the theme of the first half of U.S. Division play, and very little has changed one game into the second half. Seattle (19-12-3-0) still leads Everett (19-12-0-2) by a point in the standings, while Spokane (18-13-3-1) is tied with the Tips for second place in points. Everett has played one fewer game than Seattle and two fewer than Spokane. Portland is just five points back at 17-16-1-0.
World Junior tourney
The Americans and Canadians didn’t have to wait long to face one another at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
The two squads squared off in the first game of round robin play Saturday and the Americans came away with early North American bragging rights in the form of a 4-2 victory. Mathew Barzal of the Seattle Thunderbirds scored Team Canada’s first goal in the defeat.
No fewer than three Thunderbirds are playing in the tournament. Seattle’s Scott Eansor is skating for the Americans while teammate Alexander True is playing with Denmark.
Barzal had a goal and an assist in Canada’s 6-1 Monday victory over the Danes while True scored the lone goal for Denmark. Team Canada finished with 58 shots on goal during the victory over Denmark.
The Americans dropped a 1-0 decision to Sweden Monday.
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