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Photo Credit: courtesy Calgary Hitmen

Hitmen Report: the trade deadline

It’s trade deadline time in the Western Hockey League! The Calgary Hitmen are one of many clubs hoping to shore up their roster for a playoff push. On the ice, they’ve done a good job solidifying their playoff hopes.

News!

The biggest news for the Hitmen, even with the trade deadline looming at 3 p.m. MT on Friday, is the injury to defender Egor Zamula. The best Hitmen player this season, with 28 points in 28 games from the blueline, Zamula is out for the remainder of the season due to a back injury that will require surgery. Per the club: “The injury is a result of a degenerative condition that intensified at the [World Junior] tournament.” Zamula captured a silver medal at the World Juniors. He’s likely going pro with the Philadelphia Flyers organization next season as a 20-year-old already signed to an entry-level deal.

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As of this writing, the Hitmen have made two trades (in addition to the Kyle Olson trade last week):

  • They sent forward Hunter Campbell to Everett for forward Conrad Mitchell and 2020 sixth round pick. Mitchell’s a 2001-born left shot with five points in 29 games with the Silvertips this season.
  • They also sent a 2020 fifth round pick to Spokane for forward Connor Gabruch. Gabruch is a 2001-born right shot with seven points in 36 games with the Chiefs.

The week that was

The Hitmen captured two wins in their three-in-three weekend.

They lost 5-2 in Medicine Hat on Friday night in a game they never led. Heck, they were down 4-0 before Carson Focht and Blake Allan scored in an attempt to make it competitive. Jack McNaughton took the loss in net.

On Saturday the Hitmen beat Lethbridge 2-1 in a tight overtime game. It was tied for much of the runtime, with Orca Wiesblatt tying things up in the first period a couple minutes after the Hurricanes scored. Mark Kastelic scored the overtime winner. Brayden Peters made 27 saves for the win.

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Sunday was a 7-2 rout over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. The Hitmen got out to a 5-0 lead before Moose Jaw got on the board. Seven different players scored for Calgary: Focht, Riley Fiddler-Schultz, Cael Zimmerman, Kastelic, Adam Kydd, Josh Prokop and Evan Toth. Peters made 16 saves for the victory.

The week ahead

The Hitmen open the weekend just eight points behind the Hurricanes for a divisional playoff spot (with three games in hand). They’re firmly in a wildcard spot, 13 points up on the Red Deer Rebels on the playoff bubble.

It’s a three game weekend for the Hitmen. On Friday they host Lethbridge in the annual Pucks and Paws game – featuring wiener dog races at the intermission! On Sunday they host the Swift Current Broncos, who they visit on Wednesday to complete the home-and-home set.