0Riley Stotts
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/Calgary Hitmen

Hitmen Report: Trades cap quiet week for locals

It was a quiet week for the Calgary Hitmen with only a pair of games. But the club worked on some off-ice business, completing a pair of trades.

The Hitmen make some trades

On Tuesday, the Hitmen sent forward Zach Huber to the Saskatoon Blades for a 2020 sixth round bantam draft pick. Huber’s an 18-year-old and his roster spot is functionally going to 17-year-old Bryce Bader, who’s slated to return from injury this week. (Evidently Hitmen general manager Jeff Chynoweth doesn’t want to carry too many bodies.)

On Wednesday, the Hitmen finished up some unfinished business. Eighteen-year-old forward Tristen Nielsen (who had requested a trade) was sent to the Vancouver Giants in exchange for forward James Malm (who had also requested a trade) and a conditional 2020 draft pick. Nielsen hadn’t played since Oct. 14 (and had zero points this season), while the 19-year-old Malm was the Giants’ leading scorer at the time of the trade. He’ll help add some offensive punch to the Hitmen attack.

The swaps seem to solidify the Hitmen’s roster for the season, as well as next year. WHL teams can carry three 20-year-olds on their roster, and next year’s look to be some combination of current captain Mark Kastelic, Dakota Krebs, Malm and Nashville Predators draft pick Vladislav Yeryomenko, who’ll probably be going pro next season.

The week that was

Friday: 7-6 loss to Lethbridge

The good news? The Hitmen put up six goals, powered by two-goal games from each of Kastelic, Ryder Korczak and Kaden Elder. The bad news? They gave up seven, including five on 15 shots on starter Carl Stankowski – backup Jack McNaughton allowed two goals on 15 shots and took the loss. 2019 NHL Draft prospects Dylan Cozens (two assists) and Logan Barlage (one goal, two assists) led a group effort from the Hurricanes; six different ‘Canes had multi-point evenings.

Sunday: 5-3 loss to Saskatoon

2019 NHL Draft prospect Kirby Dach victimized the Hitmen for three points (two goals, one assist) and the Hitmen were chasing for much of the game. Jake Kryski, Carson Focht and Huber had goals for Calgary. McNaughton made 36 saves in the loss, while 2019 NHL Draft prospect Nolan Maier made 38 saves for the victory.

A look ahead

The Hitmen face one of junior hockey’s beasts this weekend: the three-in-three.

  • They host Medicine Hat on Friday night.
  • They host Red Deer on Saturday afternoon.
  • They visit Medicine Hat on Sunday night.

It’s three big games against divisional opponents.