I just realized that I did this post three weeks ago and didn’t actually hit “Publish” after I was done.
The future considerations from the BCHL trade deadline activity of the Coquitlam Express are starting to be revealed.
Tyler Olsen of the Chilliwack Times tweeted that the Express picked up D Shay Laurent (93) from the Chilliwack Chiefs as the final piece of the January 10th trade that saw F Philip Zielonka (93) head to the Fraser Valley.
So the deal ultimately sees Laurent, D Ben Israel (93) and F Garrett Forster (95) on their way to Coquitlam for Zielonka.
To Coquitlam Express:
D Shay Laurent (93)http://www.eliteprospects.com/iframe_player_stats.php?player=44326
D Ben Israel (93) http://www.eliteprospects.com/iframe_player_stats.php?player=196934
F Garrett Forster (95) http://www.eliteprospects.com/iframe_player_stats.php?player=102464
To Chilliwack Chiefs:
F Philip Zielonka (93) http://www.eliteprospects.com/iframe_player_stats.php?player=177663
A week after the Surrey Eagles dashed their playoff hopes, the Chilliwack Chiefs’ brain trust has already begun work to assemble next year’s team.
But it’s quite a job head coach Harvey Smyl and company are facing, with the Chiefs set to lose much of their core this year.
Headed to university are: Coastal MVP Mitch Gillam, to Cornell; sniper Philip Zielonka and playmaker Luke Esposito, both to Harvard; scrappy forward Trevor Hills and versatile defender Ben Masella, both to St. Lawrence University; captain and top defence-man David Thompson, to Penn State; and puck-moving rearguard Alexandre Perron-Fontaine, to the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Versatile forwards Josh Hansen and Ryan Donohoe have also exhausted their junior eligibility, but haven’t committed to a school yet.
Shay Laurent, who could have returned last year will also be gone, having been included as “future considerations” in the deadline-day deal that landed the Chiefs Zielonka.
The return of leading scorer Austin Plevy is possible, but far from certain. Plevy has committed to attend Merrimack College, but still has a couple years of BCHL eligibility left. Smyl told the Times that he will sit down with Plevy this week to discuss the talented forward’s plans.
Whatever the case, Smyl has a lot of offence, defence, talent and grit to replace, and he knows it.
“We have a lot of work to do,” he told the Times Thursday, a day after holding exit interviews with each of his players.
He said the end of the season is a difficult time for the players, who have spent a year becoming a team only to now have to say goodbye to each other-sometimes forever. As for those players who won’t be back next, Smyl said that while it’s tough to see them go, he can rest easy knowing they’re moving on to college hockey.
But Smyl said there’s not much time to dwell on the past, and a vacation is out of the question. “It feels like a time you should be working,” he said.
The Chiefs have few prospects with multiple years of junior eligibility left. Last year, they opened the year with a pair of young, promising recruits in Matt Revel and Mitch Skapski. The two players would have formed the core of the Chiefs for years to come, but both decided to move on to the Western Hockey League.
Forwards Jaret Babych, Bro-dyn Nielsen and Plevy all have two years of eligibility left, while defenceman Eric Roberts have three.
But the remaining six possible returnees were born in 1993 (and BCHL teams can only have six such “overage” players on their roster).
“We need to do some work in that area,” Smyl said of building his base of young talent. And we haven’t even got to the situation in goal.
Gillam played 46 of the Chiefs 56 games last year. Backup Josh Halpenny will see more of the crease next year. But he’s still just 17 years old and was the youngest player on last year’s team.
Smyl told the Times that he’ll be looking for a netminder who can share the crease, and possibly be the regular starter.
“With Josh’s situation, we’re not sure if at his age he’s ready to be the go-to guy. But he certainly is going to deserve to play [quite a bit] more minutes than he did last year.”
But while there’s every reason to believe that the Chiefs could enter a rebuilding stage, Smyl has also shown the ability to pull top-level talent from Eastern Canada, Esposito being the most recent example.
Here’s the Coquitlam take on the story, from Eddie Gregory’s Coquitlam Expressions blog:
The first of the future considerations the Express acquired in the January 10th trade deadline deals with Chilliwack, Penticton and West Kelowna is now known.
The Express have acquired defenceman Shay Laurent (93) from the Chilliwack Chiefs to finalize the trade the Express made to send sniper Phil Zielonka to Chilliwack. Laurent is the third player the Express acquired in the deal. Garrett Forster and Ben Israel were first acquired when the trade was made.
With the Chilliwack Chiefs season coming to an end earlier this week following the sweep in their second round series by the Surrey Eagles, the news of the Express’ acquisition of Laurent was released.
Laurent will be a 20 year old next season. He stands at 6’1, 205 lbs. He’s played the last 2 seasons in Chilliwack scoring 5 goals and 28 assists for 33 points in 108 career BCHL games.
Considering how quickly we learned about the acquisition of Laurent shortly after the completion of the Chiefs season, we my know pretty quickly more of the Express future considerations from their January 10th trades when the Interior Conference final ends with the other two teams involved in those deals Penticton and West Kelowna going head to head right now in the Conference finals and one team will be eliminated within the next week to ten days.