Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CHL Trade Frenzy Gaining Steam

The CHL trade deadlines are rapidly coming up and as with the NHL, the deals are rolling in at an increasing pace. With the World Junior Championship now in the rear view mirror, big name players have already been dealt and there will be more to come in the next few days.

Here is a bit of a recap of some of the notable trades we've seen in the last few weeks.

For the record, the QMJHL trade deadline this year is January 7th while the Ontario and Western league is set (as always) at January 10th.

We'll start in the Q where we just saw Team Canada goaltender Jake Allen (photo: Jeff Vinnick HHOF-IIHF Images) move from Montreal to the defending league champs in Drummondville. The Voltigeurs had to give up a pair of 1st round picks coming in 2010 and 2011 for the guy Hockey Canada felt was the top netminder in the country heading into the WJC.

Another premiere goalie in the Q was moved last week when Marco Cousineau and a 5th round pick was sent to Saint John from PEI in exchange for 4 picks over the next 2 years. Cousineau, a 3rd round selection by Anaheim in 2008, was Drummondville's netminder last year as they captured the league championship.

Just before Christmas the Moncton Wildcats added veteran blueliner Nicolas Deschamps, another Anaheim prospect, from Chicoutimi but had to give up two players and two picks (including a 1st rounder this year) to get it done.

In another deal in early December, Moncton picked up Team Canada spark plug Gabriel Bourque (photo: Jeff Vinnick HHOF_IIHF Images) from Baie-Comeau. The Wildcats are pulling out all the stops this year as they have given up their 1st round selection for the next two seasons in the last month.

Two names we haven't seen announced yet are those of Jordan Caron and Patrice Cormier, heavily rumored during the WJC to be headed to Rouyn-Noranda at the completion of the tournament. With the deadline in the Q now looming... it won't be much longer until we learn one way or the other if these two valuable chips have indeed been played.

Moving to the OHL, the Windsor Spitfires and Belleville Bulls pulled off a monumental swap that includes (including conditional picks) a total of 13 assets. Windsor sent Slovak import Richard Panik, young goalie Steve Gleeson, blueliner Paul Bezzo, youngster Austin Brassard and potentially 5 draft picks to Belleville. In exchange for that haul, the Spitfires have added German goalie Philip Grubauer, center Stephen Johnston, veteran defender Marc Cantin and a late pick.

The Barrie Colts added experience in the form of Matt Kennedy, A 5th round Carolina prospect, at the cost of a depth blueliner and 3 pretty decent draft picks.

Everyone now expects that Alex Pietrangelo's return to Niagara will be a short one and that he will be dealt to a contender for his final go around in the OHL playoffs. St. Louis chose to send Pietrangelo (photo: Aaron Bell/OHL) back to the OHL for the second straight year rather than develop him at the NHL level. He'll be a huge addition for someone that feels they can contend with Windsor this year (if it's not the Spitfires themselves that add him to the fold).

The WHL is expected to be busy and there have already been some big names sent packing this season. Earlier in the year Kelowna traded Stepan Novotny to Swift Current for LA Kings prospect Geordie Wudrick. Vancouver acquired import Milan Kytnar from Saskatoon but we're hearing that the Oiler prospect might be on the move again after struggling to repeat last year's offensive success.

More recently the Brandon Wheat Kings picked up Edmonton Oil Kings forward Brent Raedeke (photo: Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings) but it cost them Klarc Wilson, a top-10 Bantam selection in 2008. Regina dealt some of their future away for immediate help when they added Carter Ashton from Lethbridge in a multi-player swap that saw young Taylor Balog and two early draft picks head to Southern Alberta.

Edmonton made a minor move dealing depth forward Clayton Cumiskey to Everett for Silvertips tough guy Cameron Abney.

The most recent move saw Vancouver dealing their starting netminder to Prince Albert. Jamie Tucker is now with the Raiders and headed to the West coast is a 2nd round pick in 2011.

There are plenty of trade rumors floating around the WHL these days and I know that Dean Millard was taking inventory of them all while he was covering the WJC in Saskatoon. Keep checking back for that "Seen & Heard" WJC/trade deadline piece from Dean which should be available in the very near future.

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