2014-15 BCHL Trade Deadline Review:

The CJHL and BCHL Trade/Roster deadlines came and went on Saturday night at 6 o’clock for transfers with other leagues, 8 o’clock for transfers among BCHL teams, and midnight for rosters to be set. Now that the dust has settled, teams will go with the rosters they’ve got for the rest of the season.

The day saw eight trades, three players released and four players signed as free agents. Every single transaction involved future considerations. The busiest team was Victoria, which made two trades, signed one player as a free agent, and released another.

In all, twelve of the BCHL’s teams were active on Saturday. Langley, Penticton, Powell River, and West Kelowna didn’t adjust rosters at all.

Trades Made: 23
Trades Made Within BCHL: 15
Trades Made With Teams Outside BC: 8 
Players: 31
Future Considerations: 21

It seems wonky to me that the CJHL and its member leagues continue to have the trade/roster deadline day fall on January 10th, regardless of what day of the week that date falls upon. It’s difficult for team personnel, players, and media alike to prepare for games, knowing that one eye is on the transaction wire to see what will happen.

It would make more sense to have the deadline on an off-night across the country. I know that may be next to impossible, but moving it to say, the second Monday in January, greatly reduces the chances of a game being scheduled that night, which should make things easier for everyone.

For example, this year, according to Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo News Bulletin, Clippers GM and Head Coach Mike Vandekamp missed the beginning of the game on Saturday vs. Coquitlam while working toward the deadline, and even had his phone on the bench to reply to texts regarding potential moves. Sakaki’s story is here.

As mentioned above, the Victoria Grizzlies were the busiest team on deadline day, making four moves. GM and Head Coach Scott Didmon made a big splash, acquiring 20-year-old forward Thomas Gobeil from Cowichan for future considerations. Gobeil, who’s from St. Hubert, Quebec, had 23 points (13 goals, ten assists) in 25 games for the Capitals this season. He’s a veteran of 155 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League games.

The acquisition of Gobeil put the Grizzlies one over the BCHL limit of six 1994-born players, so Victoria attempted to trade forward Storm Wahlrab to the Estevan Bruins of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Wahlrab wouldn’t report to the Bruins and as a result, was outright released by the Grizzlies. He had four assists in 20 games for Victoria this season.

The Grizz also dealt 19-year-old defenseman Justin Sadler to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Dauphin Kings. Sadler had five points (two goals, three assists) in 32 games with Victoria. He was recruited by the Grizzlies last summer from Upper Canada College varsity hockey.

Sadler was moved to make room for 17-year-old blueliner Tomba Huddlestan, who leaves the South Island Royals of the BC Major Midget League to join the Grizzlies. Huddlestan, who’s from Victoria, has 12 points (two goals, ten assists) in 18 games this season with the midget Royals.

On top of trading Gobeil, Cowichan added a player to its roster on Saturday, signing 18-year-old forward Michal Holub as a BCHL free agent. Holub was signed by West Kelowna back in November after being released by the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He played three games with the Warriors before leaving the team to join his hometown Mission City Outlaws, where he had 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 15 games.

Merritt picked up 20-year-old defenseman Griffyn Martin from Trail for future considerations. Martin is in his first BCHL season, but spent 2013-14 with Union College, getting into two games as a freshman. The Fairfield, Connecticut native had 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 35 games with the Smoke Eaters. The Centennials were looking for another blueliner after placing Matt Foley on injured reserve with an upper body ailment. He’s out for the remainder of the season. According to Trail’s media release on the deal, at least part of the futures will see a player from Merritt head to the Smoke Eaters once the season is over.

Merritt rounded out the day by signing 18-year-old Stephan Seeger. He’s from Mississauga, Ontario and is a veteran of 26 major junior games. Seeger played one game with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals, but has spent the bulk of this season with the United States Hockey League’s Des Moines Buccaneers, posting a goal and two assists in 11 games. He spent last season with Moncton of the QMJHL, racking up 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 25 games.

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs made one move, acquiring 19-year-old forward Braden Fuller from the Merritt Centennials for future considerations. Fuller tallied five points (two goals, three assists) in 17 games with Merritt this season. He was a member of the Beaver Valley Nitehawks team which won the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League championship, the Cyclone Taylor Cup Junior B Provincial championship, and the Western Canadian Keystone Cup championship last season.
The Salmon Arm SilverBacks picked up 19-year-old defenseman Anthony Garder from Coquitlam for future considerations. Gardner, from Langley, had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 31 games with the Express this season. He won the Fred Page Cup with Coquitlam last season, but didn’t get into any games for the Express at the Western Canada Cup.

The SilverBacks made room for Gardner by sending 18-year-old forward Karl El-Mir to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Grande Prairie Storm for future considerations. El-Mir is committed to the University of Connecticut for this September. He had 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 29 games this season. The Greenfield Park, Quebec, product led the US Premier Hockey League U18 in scoring last season with 48 points (17 goals, 31 assists) in 27 games with the Selects Hockey Academy U18 team.

Chilliwack and Trail hooked up on the only trade on deadline day that saw two players change teams in the same deal. It sees the Chiefs acquire Smoke Eaters 19-year-old captain Scott Davidson for 20-year-old defenseman Evan MacEachern and future considerations.

Davidson was third in scoring on the Smokies at the time of the trade, with 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 37 games. The Quinnipiac University recruit has played his entire junior hockey career in the West Kootenays, first with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks before moving up to Trail in 2012-13. Davidson is off to Quinnipiac this September. The trade will likely give him the opportunity to taste BCHL playoff hockey for the first time in his career.

MacEachern was picked up by the Chiefs in a trade with the Weeks Crushers of the Maritime Junior Hockey League last summer. He spent two seasons in the MHL prior to coming to Chilliwack. MacEachern, who played for Team Canada East at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge, had 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 34 games with the Chiefs this season. Despite being already a 20-year-old, MacEachern’s birthday is January 9th, so he has another season of junior eligibility left.

Just like the Griffyn Martin trade with Merritt, the Smoke Eaters media release on this deal indicates that the future considerations includes a player heading from Chilliwack to Trail once the season is over.

Prince George, which has been ravaged by injuries this season, added one player, 18-year-old forward Nick Guerra from Nanaimo for future considerations. The Victoria native joined the Clippers back in November after posting 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 17 games with the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s Saanich Braves. He notched six points (four goals, two assists) in 18 games with Nanaimo. Guerra played 22 games in a Clippers uniform last season, scoring two goals.

The Spruce Kings had room to add Guerra after putting 20-year-old forward Justin Rai on injured reserve. Rai is committed to the University of Maine for this September, but he’s out for the remainder of this season with concussion-like symptoms.

Surrey didn’t make any trades, but the Eagles did adjust their roster, releasing 17-year-old forward Johnny Wesley and 20-year-old defenseman Zane Schartz. Wesley’s WHL rights were traded by Vancouver to Lethbridge on Friday and he decided to leave the Eagles and join the Hurricanes.

Schartz, who Surrey re-acquired from Trail at the beginning of October, left the Eagles to join the New Jersey Hitmen of the US Premier Hockey League. He had 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 34 games this season with Surrey. The Plano, Texas product is the third former BCHL player on the Hitmen roster, along with ex-Express and Chiefs defenseman Ben Israel and ex-Express forward Logan Coomes.

The Eagles also added 17-year-old forward Jordan Funk from the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s Aldergrove Kodiaks. Funk had played eight games with Surrey as an affiliate player this season, scoring a goal and an assist, before being moved to the Eagles regular roster. The Surrey native was leading Aldergrove in scoring with 40 points (22 goals, 18 assists) in 32 games.

Vernon was involved in just one transaction, releasing 19-year-old forward Trevor Fidler. Fidler was suspended by the Vipers for not reporting back to the team after its Christmas break. Vernon GM and Head Coach Mark Ferner hoped to trade Fidler, but ultimately wasn’t able to work out a deal. As a result, the Watertown, Massachusettes native is released outright after playing 30 games with the Vipers, scoring eight goals while adding 12 assists. Fidler’s back on the roster of the USPHL’s South Shore Kings, the team he played with last season before joining Vernon.

Here’s a list of trades since the December 1st roster deadline:
10-Jan-15: Prince George acquires F Nick Guerra (96) from Nanaimo for future considerations

10-Jan-15: Victoria trades D Justin Sadler (95) to Dauphin (MJHL) for future considerations

10-Jan-15: Victoria acquires F Thomas Gobeil (94) from Cowichan for future considerations

10-Jan-15: Salmon Arm trades F Karl El-Mir (96) to Grande Prairie (AJHL) for future considerations 

10-Jan-15: Salmon Arm acquires D Anthony Gardner (95) from Coquitlam for future considerations

10-Jan-15: Alberni Valley acquires F Braden Fuller (95) from Merritt for future considerations

10-Jan-15: Merritt acquires D Griffyn Martin (94) from Trail for future considerations 

10-Jan-15: Chilliwack acquires F Scott Davidson (95) from Trail for D Evan MacEachern (95) and future considerations

09-Jan-15: Chilliwack trades G David Poirier (95) to Dieppe (MHL) for future considerations

08-Jan-15: Nanaimo trades D Taylor Green (95) to Coquitlam for future considerations

08-Jan-15: Cowichan trades F Keegan Milligan (96) to Melville (SJHL) for future considerations

08-Jan-15: Nanaimo acquires D Ryan Coghlan (95) from Cowichan for future considerations

07-Jan-15: Merritt acquires F Zak Bowles (95) from Alberni Valley for F Luke Bertolucci (95) and future considerations

07-Jan-15: Cowichan acquires D Connor Russell (96) from Penticton for future considerations

02-Jan-15: West Kelowna acquires D Braeden Jones (94) from Grande Prairie (AJHL) for future considerations

01-Jan-15: West Kelowna trades F Michael Buonincontri (94) and D Greydon Robinson (96) to Prince George for D Tyler Kunz (94)

01-Jan-15: Salmon Arm trades D Cole McCaskill (96) to Prince George for future considerations

16-Dec-14: Powell River trades D Jordan Burns (95) to Salmon Arm for future considerations

11-Dec-14: Alberni Valley trades D Jeff Rose (96) and future considerations to Drayton Valley (AJHL) for F Eric Therrien (94)

11-Dec-14: Trail trades D Sheldon Hubbard (95) to Grande Prairie (AJHL) for future considerations

02-Dec-14: Trail trades D Viktor Dombrovskiy (96) to Prince George for D Stephen Penner (95) and F Cooper Leitch (96)

02-Dec-14: Prince George trades D Taylor Allan (95) and future considerations to Lloydminster (AJHL) for D Tyler Kunz (94)

01-Dec-14: Vernon trades F Branden Wagner (96) to Salmon Arm for future considerations

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