Nanaimo-Fort McMurray Trade Finalized:

More futures are becoming known from trades during the 2012-13 season and late last week, details emerged about players going to Fort McMurray of the Alberta Junior Hockey League from the Nanaimo Clippers.

The original deal was this:

The Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Club transfers the playing rights of Kevin Miller (94) (F) and future considerations to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons Hockey Club of the AJHL in exchange for Brock Maschmeyer (92) and future considerations.

No word what the futures are that were sent from the Oil Barons to Nanaimo because as of now, only Maschmeyer headed to the Clippers. I would expect there was some cash involved in the deal.

Fort McMurray tweeted this out on Friday:
Oil Barons acquire from Nanaimo Fwd Matt Grant and Dman Chris Rygus to complete January 10 trade of Brock Maschmeyer.

There are varying reports on Grant and Rygus not reporting to Fort McMurray. In fact, Oil Barons play-by-play man Tyler King tweeted that fact not long after the future considerations were confirmed:

However, (Oil Barons Head Coach Gord) Thibodeau says it’s “not likely at this stage” that either Rygus or Grant will end up at the team’s camp.

So we’ll see where the two end up. Regardless, Fort Mac definitely has some assets to play with in an effort to improve its team.

And with that, the final details of the trade break down like this:

To Nanaimo:
D Brock Maschmeyer (92)
+ Future Considerations

To Fort McMurray:
F Matt Grant (93)
F Kevin Miller (94)
D Christopher Rygus (93)

Nanaimo-Cowichan Valley Trade:

With the December 1st roster deadline approaching on Saturday, a massive trade shook the BCHL’s Island Division as the Western Canada Cup host Nanaimo Clippers added age, experience and offense in a deal with the rival Cowichan Valley Capitals.

The transaction sees the Clippers acquire 19-year-old Matthew Grant from the Caps in exchange for 18-year-old forward Jesse Neher and 18-year-old forward Luke Gordon.

Although Cowichan Valley has lost its top two scorers in the last two weeks – Grant in this trade and Ryan Hanes to the WHL – adding Neher and Gordon gives the Capitals depth up front and I would think that both will get ample amounts of ice time in Duncan to seize the opportunity.

For the Clippers, Grant is a proven point producer who should immediately step into Nanaimo’s top six and be an impact player, especially on the power play.

To Nanaimo Clippers:

F Matthew Grant (93) Cowichan Valley Capitals:

The Nanaimo Clippers have acquired (F) (93) Matthew Grant from the Cowichan Valley Capitals in exchange for the playing rights of (F) (94) Luke Gordon and (F)(94) Jesse Neher. The 6”3 207lb Grant hails from Ladysmith BC has 6 goals, 15 assists in 20 games.

The Nanaimo Clippers would like welcome Matthew and his family to the Clipper family and would like to thank Luke and Jesse for their contributions and wish them all the best.

And from the Capitals website:

The Cowichan Capitals have completed a trade this afternoon. The Capitals have acquired forwards Jesse Neher and Luke Gordon from the Nanaimo Clippers in exchange for forward Matt Grant.

With this move the Capitals have added some depth to the forward lines. Both Neher and Gordon are experienced BCHL forwards who bring an offensive edge to the Capitals. Look for both to be in the lineup this weekend.
The Capitals would like to take this oppportunity to thank Matt Grant for all of his contributions to the team. We wish Matt all the best as he continues his hockey career.

Cowichan Valley Releases Two, Signs One from NAHL and One from WHL:

The Cowichan Valley Capitals have signed two players without previous BCHL experience while they’ve released two players who skated with the club last season.

To Cowichan Valley:
F Matt Grant (93)
To Cowichan Valley:
F Connor Wright (92)

Released by Cowichan Valley to Fernie (KIJHL):
F Austin Evans (94)
Released by Cowichan Valley outright:
F Stephen Saretsky (91)

Here’s the article from the Cowichan Valley Citizen summarizing the moves with Cowichan Valley associate coach/GM and former Cents defenceman Jim Ingram.

Crunch Time: Battle for roster spots goes on, with pre-season beginning Sept. 9

By Kevin Rothbauer, Citizen August 31, 2011

Down to about a third of the numbers they started camp with, the Cowichan Valley Capitals are much closer to unveiling the roster that will start the British Columbia Hockey League.

“I would say we’re about seven players away from getting down to numbers,” said associate coach Jim Ingram, noting that there are fewer than 30 players remaining, with the staff needing to trim that down to 21 before Sept. 23. “There are some extremely tough decisions we have to make.”

Camp opened on Aug. 22, just over a month before the opening faceoff. The Caps won’t even play their first pre-season game until Sept. 9. Ingram wasn’t keen on having so much time between the date players first donned their practice jerseys and the first day of meaningful games, but he’s learned to see the benefits.

“I wasn’t big on starting as early as we did, but now I’m happy with it,” he said. “It’s good that we do have that extra time now.”

The two weeks between the end of camp and that first exhibition game against the Victoria Grizzlies will give the coaches more time to work with the players, and more time for the players to get accustomed to their surroundings and to each other.

It also raises the stakes for the players who are on the bubble with regards to making the final 21.

“They have a tremendous opportunity to make or not make the club,” said Ingram. “It’s totally up to them.”

On the other hand, the players will be anxious to face some real competition.

“It’s not so much that it’s going to be tough, but the boys are going to be antsy,” the coach acknowledged. “By the end, they’ll be ready to get into game situations and hit guys other than the guys they’re dressing with.”

Monday saw the remaining hopefuls engage in a hard-skating practice, focusing on cardio rather than shooting. It wasn’t easy, but Ingram was impressed with the efforts.

“Guys keep themselves in great shape these days,” he said. “They were tired, but they made it through.”

There have been a few surprises in camp; players who weren’t expected to get this far, but who are making a case for their inclusion in the final roster. Among them are forwards Dane Feeney (22 points for the major midget North Island Silvertips in 2010/11) and Connor Wright (20 points in the junior A North American Hockey League), and defenceman David London (won a junior B championship in the Kootenay league as a playoff call-up from major midget).

“They’re real solid players, and they’re going to make it tough for us,” said Ingram.

Less surprising, but still pleasing, have been Steven Iacobellis (acquired over the summer to complete January’s Mike Hammond trade), Matt Brown (a veteran of four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League), and Matt Grant (brother of Cowichan’s 2010/11 scoring leader Jordan, and who played last year with Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League).

This is Ingram’s first year back with the Caps after coaching in Trail for three seasons, and some of the Cowichan veterans with whom he was previously unfamiliar have also opened his eyes. Specifically, Brendon MacDonald and Keyler Bruce, two hard-working Alberta boys, have stood out for their leadership capabilities and maturity.

“They’re a couple of guys noted for other things, not their play style,” said Ingram.

A few other players with whom Caps fans are familiar won’t be returning to the fold after the coaches decided they just didn’t fit with the plans for 2011/12. Dante Godinho (13 points in 39 games last year) was traded to the Victoria Grizzlies for future considerations, while Austin Evans (eight points in 47 contests) and Stephen Saretsky (13 points in 47 games) were released.

Evans found a job with the junior B Fernie Ghostriders, while Saretsky is still weighing his options.

“It’s tough, but at the same time, we have to make these types of decisions,” said Ingram, noting that the BCHL has lowered its rosters from 23 players last season to 21 this year. “We can’t keep everybody, unless the rules change drastically and let us keep 100 guys on our roster.”

It all boils down to finding ways to improve on last year’s 21-30-1-8 record and return to the playoffs. “We’ve got to improve our hockey team,” said Ingram. “And I think that’s what we’re doing.”