Kings busy with deals at trade deadline

Published on Tuesday, 16 January 2024 07:12

The Dauphin Kings were busy at the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s (CJHL) trade deadline, with five deals made.

The deals started, Jan. 5, with the Kings sending forward Blake Boudreau, 20, to the Carleton Place Canadians of the Central Canada Hockey League for a player development fee (PDF).

Boudreau had 10 goals and 16 points in 25 games for Dauphin this season.

In a move that surprised many Kings fans, 20-year-old defenceman Anthony Bax, who led the team in scoring with 32 points, including 13 goals, was shipped to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Flin Flon Bombers, the top team in the CJHL.

In exchange the Kings get forward Ashton Paul, 19, and future considerations.

In 28 games this season, Paul had four goals and 19 points.

Last season, playing with OCN, Paul tallied 26 goals and 56 points in 57 games.

Defenceman Nolan Wickham, 20, was sent to the Winkler Flyers for defenceman Ty Pratte, 18, and a second round draft pick in this year’s draft.

Wickham had two goals and 10 points in 29 games this season, while Pratte had a goal and an assist in 15 contests for Winkler.

Defenceman Aidan Brook, 20, along with forward Rhett Perrin were traded to the Portage Terriers in exchange for defenceman Brett Magarrell, 18, as well as a third and fifth round pick in this year’s draft.

Brook played 31 games this season, tallying four goals and 13 points, while Perrin had a goal and three points in 17 games.

Magarrell played 30 games with the Terriers and recorded a goal and six points.

Another deal saw the Kings send the list rights of forward Kai Clayton to the Swan Valley Stampeders for a PDF.

Kings head coach and general manager Doug Hedley said the trade landscape has changed with advisors now representing players.

Players, Hedley said, now have to consent to trades, which he understands when they are sent to a different league. But giving consent when being traded within the same league makes no sense to him.

“I think it’s going to have to be looked at,” he said.

Hedley tried to improve the team’s offence, but the deals he was working on fell through.

“Our original plan was to add some offence, some experienced guys that could score,” he said.

When those deals didn’t work out, Hedley gave the team’s 20-year-olds a choice to stay with the Kings or be moved to another team.

“We wanted to be fair to the 20-year-olds,” he said.

Only Logan Walker and Alex Senf chose to stay.

“They didn’t even hesitate. They came back in and said they wanted to be Kings, they wanted to wear the crest. They felt we had a good young group and we could challenge,” Hedley said.

Dealing away Brook and Wickham is particular was hard with both players being in their third year with the team, as well as being part of the championship squad that won the league in 2022.

“There’s all kinds of respect on our end for those kids. We just felt that they deserved a chance, they made the decision and we accommodated them,” Hedley said.

Hedley likes the return he got in the various deals.

“We think that we got some good young players back in return with Ty Pratte from Winkler and Brett Magarrell from Portage. Both are 18-year-olds that are going to be good D-men in the league,” he said. “In fact, if you look at our back end now, I really think we got younger, but we got more mobile and we’ve got real good speed, real good attitudes and real good work ethics.”

The Kings won their third straight game the day before the deadline, beating the Neepawa Titans, 3-0, with Cole Sheffield making 29 saves to record his second shutout in three games.

Hedley said the team played with a renewed energy and emotion in that game.

“We’re looking forward to working with this group and the work ethic and compete. Kyan Grouette has really helped us out as far as work ethic. He’s a real good addition,” he said.

Fans will get their first chance to see the new players in the lineup tonight when the Kings host the Stampeders at 7:30 p.m.

The Kings then visit the division-leading Virden Oil Capitals, Friday, before hosting the Niverville Nighthawks, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

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