It was a quiet WHL trade deadline day for the Swift Current Broncos as they made their move on Monday getting Jay Merkley and weren’t able to find anything that worked today. I caught up with Mark Lamb shortly after the deadline had passed.
Interview with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb (Download)
So the prices were too high and the deals weren’t a fit. It sounds like the Broncos were close to getting another d-man to provide some depth and that didn’t work out. Guys like Lernout and Zinkan can look at that as an opportunity for them to get more time to prove themselves here in the final 1/3 of the season.
As Coach Lamb mentioned, the addition of Benson and Bews back in their lineup will be like they made some additions at the deadline. If you can suddenly put together their current top 6 with something like Lund/Benson/Bews as a third line and the guys who have been playing on the third line for the last month are suddenly your 4th line again… you’re in a pretty comfortable position depth-wise.
As I said on twitter, few teams are ever able to address a need the way the Broncos did while also getting younger. They have to be happy with that. Does it sound like they would have liked to get a little better today? Sure, but not if it meant sacrificing the future they’ve been building. Would they have listened to good offers on guys like Lowry and Scarlett? Maybe but from what Coach Lamb said they really didn’t get anything that was even close to value. Instead they move forward with a team that has shown they can play with anyone in the league and has experienced more than their share of playoff-style games. We’ll see down the stretch how much they’ve learned from that.
OTHER DEADLINE THOUGHTS
Winners at the deadline today? Well Saskatoon certainly got better. Michael Ferland was one of the best players in the league last year and a power forward who brings grit, toughness and scoring to their top 6. Guys like Valcourt and Benoit playing in their bottom 6 gives them the kind of depth that most teams don’t have. All three guys have lots of playoff experience and two of them have played in Memorial Cups. Those are logical additions for the Blades despite the steep price they paid. They now have 14 19-year-olds on that roster which is built to win now. I wonder how many of those guys will be traded elsewhere in the league to try to recoup some of those picks/prospects this summer?
Brandon was the other most active team as they were able to sell Ferland and Alessio Bertaggia for some significant assets. They also traded Nikkel to Everett for Nick Walters and Taylor Sanheim in what was more of a strict hockey deal. The Wheat Kings know it’s a down year for them and are building up their asset base. You know they will take advantage of that eventually and will be right back in the mix soon enough.
There weren’t a ton of other moves as much as minor tweaks. Edmonton getting Trevor Cheek was a very logical move at a reasonable price. Prince Albert made their big move in the deal with Medicine Hat a week ago. Moose Jaw made their biggest move in the deal with Kamloops a few weeks ago. Regina made a few minor moves today and that shouldn’t change things there too much. The bottom line was that the biggest changes happened in Saskatoon and Brandon. They should be the teams most impacted by this deadline. Whether they come out winners is yet to be determined.
I imagine when people discuss teams who made the most logical deals for their team the Broncos will be on a lot of those lists. Now like everyone they will just have to hope what they did or didn’t do this week ends up working out in the long run.