WHL: Victoria and Calgary pull off blockbuster trade

It’s not often a big trade in the WHL features high-profile players going both directions.

Big trades in the WHL almost always feature present value being swapped for future value. Current stars are acquired by teams loading up for a playoff run, and in exchange those teams give up prospects or draft picks which could end up becoming stars in the future.

The Victoria Royals and Calgary Hitmen bucked that trend last week with a rare deal that saw signed NHL draft picks traded for one another.

The Royals and Hitmen pulled off a blockbuster when Victoria acquired high-powered 19-year-old forward Greg Chase from Calgary in a deal that sent hulking 19-year-old defenseman Keegan Kanzig to the Hitmen. The full deal saw Chase go to Victoria along with a fifth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft and an eighth rounder in 2016, while Kanzig went to Calgary along with a second rounder in 2016.

A deal of this type was made possible because Chase, who tied for the Calgary team lead in scoring last season with 85 points (35 goals, 50 assists) in 70 games, requested a trade and was sent home by the Hitmen.

Calgary, however, has a team it thinks can contend this season. Therefore, the Hitmen weren’t going to settle for prospects or draft picks in return for Chase, who was a seventh-round pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2013 NHL draft. They wanted a player who could help Calgary this season.

The Royals were able to accommodate that request. To pick up Chase and aid its offense, Victoria parted with a key part of its defense. The Royals have built a reputation as a big, tough, intimidating team, and the 6-foot-6, 242-pound Kanzig was the poster child for that reputation.

The trade also works out for Kanzig’s NHL team. Kanzig was picked in the third round of the 2013 NHL draft by the Calgary Flames, who also happen to own and operate the Hitmen. Therefore, the Flames will now be able to keep a close eye on one of their top prospects.

And somehow both the Royals and the Hitmen found a way where both teams believe they’ve improved their teams for the now, rather than the later.

Around the WHL

It was a busy week on the trade front in the WHL … Kamloops acquired 17-year-old forward Matthew Campese and a fifth-round pick in 2016 from Victoria for a third rounder in 2015. The Blazers then turned around a dealt 18-year-old forward Jesse Shynkaruk to Moose Jaw for a fourth rounder in 2017. … Prince Albert added a veteran presence by picking up 19-year-old forward Cory Millette from Saskatoon for a fifth rounder in 2016. … Vancouver acquired 18-year-old forward Dakota Odgers from Swift Current for a fifth rounder in 2015. Then the Giants picked up 18-year-old defenseman Josh Thrower from Tri-City for 19-year-old defenseman Tyler Morrison and a second-round pick in 2015. … Prince George received a big boost as 20-year-old forward Zach Pochiro was returned to the team from the professional ranks by the NHL’s St. Louis Blues. Pochiro was Prince George’s third-leading scorer last season. … It was revealed Seattle star 17-year-old forward Mathew Barzal, who had been out with an unexplained injury, suffered a fractured kneecap while roughhousing with teammates in the locker room prior to a practice on the T-birds road trip through the East Division. He is expected back in early January. … Edmonton’s Lane Bauer was named the WHL Player of the Week. The 18-year-old forward had four goals and four assists as the Oil Kings went 1-1-2-0.


Points — Rourke Chartier (Kelowna), Nick Merkley (Kelowna) 45; goals — Chartier 26; assists — Merkley 37; penalty minutes — Keegan Kanzig (Calgary), Sam Ruopp (Prince George) 64; wins — Jordan Papirny (Brandon), Jackson Whistle (Kelowna) 16; goals against average — Taran Kozun (Seattle) 2.32; save percentage — Landon Bow (Swift Current) .928.

Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

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