Well, back to the grindstone after a week of holidays.
For the first time, I was away during the WHL's trade deadline, but was following the interesting and fast transactions leading up to and during the trade deadline a few days ago.
No one can accuse Hurricanes General Manager Peter Anholt of never being a willing trade partner. In his two years as GM of this team, he's made more deals than every other Hurricanes General Manager in the past seasons previous combined. Anholt has never been shy to pull the trigger on a deal, but he's certainly not the kind of guy to make a trade for the sake of making a trade.
Anholt certainly didn't disappoint this trade deadline either, making a number of deals including a blockbuster with Central Division rivals, the Kootenay ICE. Here's a run down on most recent deals:
* Hurricanes acquire 1998 born defenceman Brady Pouteau from Regina Pats for 7th round pick in 2018 WHL Draft
* Canes trade for 1998 born defenceman Kyle Yewchuk from Edmonton Oil Kings. The Hurricanes give up a 5th round selection in the 2018 Western Hockey League Draft
* The Canes acquired 1997 born forward Alec Baer from Vancouver in exchange for a 3rd round pick in the 2017 WHL Draft
* Hurricanes trade overage defenceman Shaun Dosanjh to Portland Winterhawks for a 9th round pick in 2017 WHL Draft. Canes also re-assigned 17 year old defenceman Ethan Kings to Junior "B".
* Canes deal overage forward Ryley Lindgren & a 6th round pick in 2018 WHL Draft to Swift Current Broncos in exchange for prospect Carson Dyck & 3rd round pick in 2018 Draft
* Hurricanes trade with Kootenay ICE and acquire overage forwards Matt Alfaro and Zak Zborosky and a 6th round pick in 2018 WHL Draft in exchange for forwards Kolton Kroker, Brett Davis, as well as a 2nd and 4th round pick in 2018 draft.
All that took place in just a few days. Couple these deals with the ones that took place back in November and this Lethbridge Hurricanes team is a vastly different looking group than the one that started the season. In fact, it's not even close to the same team.
Again, some fans I read on-line were quite upset over the deals, but one thing I've realized about Peter Anholt is he won't make a deal just for the sake of making a deal as I said earlier. Let's see how this all plays out before jumping to conclusions. Remember in November, some people were quick to hammer the GM over some big name trades, but that seemed to work out quite well with the team going on its longest unbeaten streak of the season after that.
The Hurricanes will now make a run to the post-season with this current roster, so it'll be interesting to see how this all shakes down. They sit in 5th place in the Eastern Conference as I type this blog post and are still very much within striking distance of Regina and Medicine Hat, two teams holding down the top two positions in the East at the moment.
Lethbridge also has a fairly comfortable lead in the standings on a few other clubs, so barring some crazy slide, the Canes should be a playoff team for a second straight season. Hopefully all the trades made over the past two months will get the Hurricanes past the first round of the playoffs. However, there are still two months two go in the regular season, so lets not put the cart before the horse here so-to-speak.
The point I'm trying to make and it's really the same as it was when I posted after all the trade activity back in November, is lets not be so quick to fire before we see if these deals will turn out to be good or bad.
Peter Anholt has a pretty good track record during his time in Lethbridge when it comes to wheeling and dealing, so I'm not one to criticize so quickly. If these trades prove to send the team into a spiral and find the club out of the post-season come mid-March, then Peter Anholt will have some questions to answer, but until then and if that happens, lets give him and this team the benefit of the doubt.
Let's be honest here. Beating Regina and Medicine Hat, but especially the Pats in a playoff series, I think is going to be really tough for any team in the Eastern Conference this season. The Canes, I think would fair much better against the Tigers if the two teams were to meet up in the playoffs, but again there's lots that can happen before then. I'm just saying that those teams have been hard to play against all season long for several clubs.