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Sports >  Spokane Chiefs

Spokane Chiefs stay quiet at WHL’s trade deadline

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 11, 2019

Spokane Chiefs forward Jake McGrew moves the puck against the Kootenay Ice on Dec. 8 at the Arena. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane Chiefs forward Jake McGrew moves the puck against the Kootenay Ice on Dec. 8 at the Arena. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

The Western Hockey League’s trade deadline came and went Thursday without any deals made by the Spokane Chiefs, and not nearly the league-wide activity of last year’s deadline.

But the Chiefs said they like the roster they have the rest of the way.

“We feel good about our group,” coach Dan Lambert said. “When you look at the pieces we have added along the way, I think they’re all pieces that have made us a better team.”

About six weeks ago, the Chiefs made a pair of trades for a top-six forward (Luc Smith) and an experienced defenseman (Noah King) who have played significant minutes since their arrival.

King has played in 13 games with the Chiefs since they acquired him from Swift Current on Dec. 4. He has recorded just two points but is a plus-3.

Since being acquired from Kamloops on Nov. 26, Smith has scored nine goals and added five assists in 16 games. His 17 goals overall this season are tied for the second most among current Chiefs players (with Adam Beckman and Jake McGrew) behind team leader Riley Woods’ 23.

Woods has missed the past two games with an upper-body injury, but Lambert said he is day-to-day and expects him back either Saturday against Tri-City or the following weekend.

His absence almost exactly matched up with the return of Jaret Anderson-Dolan who, for three reasons, has missed all but five of the Chiefs’ games. He started the year with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, came back for two games but then injured his wrist and missed another chunk of time.

He played for Team Canada in the World Juniors up to and over the new year, and has played in three straight games since his return for the first time this season.

In five games, he has three goals and three assists. Last season, he had 40 goals and 51 assists for a team-leading 91 points in 70 games.

“We got Jaret Anderson-Dolan back, who we haven’t had, so I think he might be the biggest addition of any team this season,” Chiefs general manager Scott Carter said.

Other U.S. Division teams did not stand pat at the deadline. Portland (25-11-3-2), five points ahead of Spokane (23-13-2-2) and in second place, traded five draft picks for Swift Current goalie Joel Hofer. The St. Louis Blues selected Hofer in the fourth round of the most recent NHL draft.

Last week, division leader Everett (32-8-1-1) got Zack Andrusiak from Seattle. He scored 27 goals and added 12 assists in 34 games with the Thunderbirds before the trade and has three points in four games with the Silvertips.

Spokane sits third in the division with 50 points, eight ahead of Tri-City (20-15-1-1), which has played three fewer games.

The Chiefs have 28 games remaining and play eight of those against the Americans.

“They are games that are going to be important for us,” said Lambert, “just for our confidence and if we want to stay ahead of them, and if we want to catch other teams.”

Spokane made a couple of other transactions leading up to the deadline, reassigning defensemen Luke Gallagher and Mike Ladyman and signing forward Kaden Hanas, a 19-year-old forward who played for the Drumheller Dragons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Hanas had 17 points in 30 games with the Dragons.

After Dawson Weatherill went down with an injury, the Chiefs traded last week for goalie Reece Klassen to be the backup behind regular starter Bailey Brkin.

Klassen started Wednesday night and stopped 15 of the 17 shots he faced in a 4-2 Chiefs victory over the Prince George Cougars.

This is the squad that the Chiefs expect to have the rest of the way.

“Everybody’s having fun right now,” McGrew said. “We have a lot of leaders in the room. We have a lot of good guys, good human beings, so that makes it a lot of fun.”

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