The Spokane Chiefs had two goals in mind Tuesday when they traded 18-year-old defenseman Tyler King to the Kootenay Ice for 16-year-old left wing Hudson Elynuik.
First, Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz was looking to bolster the team’s offense in future seasons.
“The acquisition of Hudson Elynuik strengthens our organization’s 1997-born group of forwards and gives us more size at the forward position,” Speltz said. “Hudson is a talented player with the potential to be a big, skilled forward in the WHL.”
Second, the departure of King opens up more playing time for Spokane’s young defensemen.
“The trade also allows our 17-year-old defensemen the opportunity to play more, which we expect will expedite their development,” Speltz said.
King, the Chiefs’ first-round bantam draft selection in 2010, played 132 games for Spokane, totaling eight goals and 19 assists. He had one goal and four assists this season, scoring the winning goal during a 2-0 decision at Everett on Dec. 15.
Elynuik, a rookie, had one goal and one assist in 31 games this season. He’s expected to be available when the Chiefs host Victoria on Friday.
The league’s trade deadline is Jan. 10.
Prince Albert pulled off two deals last weekend, first acquiring former Spokane Chiefs forward Collin Valcourt, defenseman Ryan Coghlan from Saskatoon for defenseman Dylan Busenius and two 2014 bantam draft picks.
The 6-2, 216-pound, 20-year-old Valcourt had 14 goals and 24 assists in 36 games with Saskatoon this season. Valcourt had a goal and an assist in his Raiders debut Monday to lead a 4-0 win at Regina.
The Raiders also traded four-year veteran Mike Winther to Calgary for 19-year-old forward Calder Brooks.
Also rumored to be on the trade block is veteran defenseman Spenser Jensen, who left Medicine Hat on Dec. 15 after telling coaches he wasn’t enjoying the game anymore and was considering a return to school.
Around the league: Medicine Hat captain Hunter Shinkaruk will have season-ending hip surgery on Jan. 7 in Vail, Colo. The first-round selection of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks suffered the injury Oct. 23 at home against Portland. “Obviously, I will be back,” the 19-year-old left wing told Darren Steinke of the Medicine Hat News. “I am one of the luckiest kids to be a Medicine Hat Tiger.” … Moose Jaw forward Erik Benoit opted not to return to the Warriors after the holiday break. Moose Jaw claimed the 20-year-old Benoit off waivers from Seattle when it was down to nine healthy forwards. The team is back up to 14 forwards, leaving Benoit the odd man out. … Kamloops goalie Bolton Pouliot is still waiting to return to the Blazers’ lineup after missing more than a month with an injured hand. … Medicine Hat’s Curtis Valk, who had 46 goals and 45 assists last year, entered the league’s halfway point with 15 goals and 20 assists as he has drawn greater attention from defenses. … Vancouver winger Trace Elson quit the team over the holiday break and returned to the Alberta Junior A league’s Whitecourt Wolverines. … The WHL suspended Brandon scoring leader Jayce Hawryluk for three games for a hit from behind on Regina defenseman Jesse Zgraggen last Friday.
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