The WHL trade deadline has come and gone and while there were a smattering of deals today, the Edmonton Oil Kings opted to stand pat and not get involved with the transactions list.
I had an email exchange last night with a prominent WHL media person who suggested to me that he'd heard of one potential deal that was being talked about. I won't mention his name here just in case he'd prefer I didn't, but he'd heard rumors that the Oil Kings and Saskatoon were kicking tires in a trade that would have involed 20-year-old forward Brenden Dowd heading to the Blades in exchange for 18-year-old Travis Toomey.
I had talked earlier in the week to Edmonton Assistant GM Randy Hansch and he suggested that the team was open to possibilities that would make the team better in the present and in the long term. He was pretty insistent that the team wasn't going to move any youth though just for the sake of getting a deal done.
Moving an overager like Dowd would have made sense, even though it would have been a blow to their offence. He can't come back... the team isn't a contender this year... getting something for Dowd at this point does make some sense. However, Dowd does share the team lead in goals this year (15) and is currently fourth in scoring. If the Oil Kings want to make a serious run to simply make the playoffs (forget beyond that) then you probably can't move that player.
I can understand the attraction that Travis Toomey would of had for Bob Green and his staff. Toomey hails from the Edmonton bedroom community of Leduc making him a hometwon product. He's also a gargantuan 6'5 and 200 lbs and if there is one thing the Oil Kings lack it's size - especially up front.
Toomey's only played 21 games this year after missing all of November and December due to injury (I don't recall what the injury was... I'm sure someone can leave it in the comments). He's back playing now though.
In the end, neither Edmonton nor Saskatoon made a deal before the deadline.
The Kootenay Ice made an interesting move today by basically pulling the chute on their season. They dealt their top defenceman in John Negrin (CGY) and a decent forward in Michael Stickland to Swift Current. The Broncos made a bucket load of trades as they try to imprive for the stretch drive.
I'm a bit suprised about what the Ice did simply because they're currently tied for 6th place. Now, I just finished saying that I'd have given a thumbs up to Edmonton moving Dowd but I'm still surprised that Negrin was deemed expendable by Kootenay during the playoff stretch. Perhaps they're simply looking at the top teams in the Conference and deciding that this isn't going to be this year so better to start reloading now. There is some logic in that too but the Ice haven't missed the playoffs since moving to Kootenay and that seems like a harder streak to keep going without Negrin that with.
That might just be me.
The dash to the playoffs can now begin in full force now. It looks like 5 teams vying for 3 spots in the Eastern Conference to me. How about you?
UPDATE: I spoke with GM Bob Green a couple of hours ago. He did confirm that he'd talked to several teams ove rthe last few days but that those discussions didn't progress much at all. When asked about the trade scenario I outlined above he literally laughed. I aksed him he'd had discussions with Saskatoon in regards to Dowd and Toomey and he replied by saying "No... but that's a good one!"
The Oil Kings have loaned netminder Dalyn Flette to the Camrose Kodiaks. The 19-year-old will get the opportunity to play for Boris Rybalka's club as it tries to solidy a playoff spot in the AJHL's Southern Conference.