The Spokane Chiefs weren't big wheeler-dealers when it came to Western Hockey League trades. Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz said the team is happy with what it has in its drive toward a top-four seed in the playoffs. Read story
Speltz said his trade strategy each season depends on circumstances.
“I think the first thing all the time with us is our team establishes what we do and where we are,” Speltz said. “There comes a time when you might have to look at the future. I think we did that little bit with the Elynuik trade.”
When it became clear that the Chiefs wouldn't receive equal compensation by trading some of their top players, Speltz looked at a different tactic.
“So the next thing we did was we looked at players that were going to give us a little bit more versatility and give Don (coach Nachbaur) and the coaching staff more options up front,” he said.
It would have been hard to unload either Mitch Holmberg or Mike Aviani, Speltz said.
“We’re so happy with what Mitch and Mike have accomplished,” he said. “It would have been very difficult to pry them out. I have enough respect for both players to say if something had worked out that would have been a good opportunity for them, it would have been different. But quite frankly, we didn’t have the teams that were willing to step forward and get on the dance floor for those types of trades.”
Tri-City, having an off-year, was in a trading mode as it looks beyond 2013-14, but Speltz said the Americans' defense and goaltending will still be strong. The Chiefs and Americans will meet seven more times during the regular season.
The Chiefs will face tough decisions down the road because there are six 19-year-olds on the roster. WHL teams are limited to three 20-year-olds per season.
“That’s going to sort itself out next year,” Speltz said. “If something had made sense, would we have looked at something? Sure, but there were some key guys that we thought would be a part of our future next year.”