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WHL notes: Brycen Martin takes long road to Saskatoon

Western Hockey League logo (Courtesy)
Western Hockey League logo (Courtesy)

Many players changed teams before the Western Hockey League’s trade deadline last Saturday, but nobody had a more interesting journey than defenseman Brycen Martin.

The Swift Current Broncos traded the 18-year-old Martin, the second overall pick in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft, to Kamloops on Jan. 6 for defenseman Joshua Connolly.

The WHL voided the trade last Wednesday because Connolly refused to report to Swift Current. That move technically returned Martin to Swift Current, which turned around and shipped Martin to the Saskatoon Blades for defenseman Jordan Thomson.

Martin joined the Blades last Friday and contributed one goal and one assist during last Saturday’s 6-4 win at Kootenay.

Martin was the Buffalo Sabres’ third-round selection in last year’s National Hockey League Entry Draft.

“We’re really the Buffalo of the WHL. That’s us,” Blades head coach/general manager Bob Woods told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. “This is the opportunity for (Martin) to come in and really be the difference to help change what we’re doing here.”

Kamloops ended up trading Connolly to his hometown Prince George Cougars for Marc McNaulty.

Pats don’t stand pat

The Regina Pats were one of the busiest teams before the trade deadline, announcing four trades over a period of five days.

Regina started by trading star forward Morgan Klimchuk to Brandon for left wing Jesse Gabrielle on Jan. 2. Three days later, the Pats traded captain Kyle Burroughs and leading scorer Dryden Hunt to Medicine Hat for defenseman Connor Hobbs and two draft picks. On the same day, Regina traded top goal-scorer Connor Gay and three draft picks to Red Deer for top prospect Jake Leschyshyn and a draft pick. Twenty-four hours later, the Pats sent defenseman Brady Reagan to Lethbridge for veteran forward Taylor Cooper.

“It was hectic,” Pats head coach/senior VP of hockey operations John Paddock told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “It was emotional on everybody. It was hard to do. We didn’t know where or how, but it was basically our plan to try and find that hybrid situation of getting players rather than just draft picks. It bodes well for this year and (the future).”

Frequent traveler

Left wing Zane Jones tries to see the positive side to playing for five WHL teams in five seasons.

“You meet a lot of people,” the 20-year-old told Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province after last Friday’s trade took him from Lethbridge to the Vancouver Giants.

Jones also played for Victoria/ Chilliwack, Calgary and Everett.

“I’ve got friends all over,” Jones said. “I think it’s helped me grow as a person. I’ve really enjoyed it. I don’t worry that people think, ‘Oh, he’s been traded a lot.’

“Good players get traded and each team wants a guy for a different reason.”

Around the league

Edmonton’s Tristan Jarry was named Canadian Hockey League Goaltender of the Week after turning aside 67 shots during a pair of wins. The 19-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins prospect, playing in his fourth season with the Oil Kings, also won the award in late November. … Portland forward Oliver Bjorkstrand was named WHL Player of the Week after compiling eight points in three games, including one goal and three assists during Friday’s victory at Spokane. The 19-year-old, of Herning, Denmark, has 25 goals in 31 games with the Winterhawks this season. … Defenseman Eric Roy played his 293rd career game to move past Brett Thurston for 10th on Brandon’s all-time list.


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