The Swift Current Broncos made a major swap of defenceman sending 96 D Brycen Martin to Kamloops for 95 D Josh Connolly and a 2016 WHL bantam draft pick. You can click here for my full story on the trade. It’s a very interesting move for the Broncos as they bring in an element they were looking for from a player who will likely be in the league just as long as Martin and also add a 2nd round pick to the mix.
Here is what Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb had to say about the deal and a couple of other topics…
This trade isn’t about Connolly being a better player than Martin but better fitting Swift Current’s needs at the moment. Coach Lamb felt the Broncos could really use another right handed shot on the blue line that could move the puck, play the power play and help lead the offensive attack. Connolly can be that player as he’s tied for 5th in WHL scoring by defencemen and is known as a smooth skater who takes risks. In doing some digging on him tonight he is viewed as a very skilled guy who likes to rush the puck so much he can sometimes get himself into a bit of trouble while creating chances for his team. That could make Heatherington a good partner for him as the Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick is used to working with dynamic puck movers like Reece Scarlett and Julius Honka in previous years.
This certainly isn’t how you would have expected things to end up between Martin and the Broncos when he was taken 2nd overall in the 2011 bantam draft. A guy in that position is predicted to eventually emerge as his team’s defensive leader and maybe Martin would have eventually done that with the departure of several veterans after this season. However, the organization felt like Connolly addressed several needs and it took the naturally gifted Martin to get the deal done.
I felt like Martin’s defensive game really took a step forward this season playing with Heatherington against the other team’s best players every night. The offensive numbers still haven’t grown as significantly as you may have expected, but his plus/minus took a step forward this season as well. He has the complete package of natural talent you’d want from an elite defenceman and is still working towards becoming that player. A change of scenery and working with the legendary Don Hay may help the Buffalo Sabres draft pick get there.
Now that the Broncos have the veteran right handed shooting defenceman they were targeting we will have to wait to see if they will do anything else before Saturday. I don’t think they would force any other move, but it doesn’t hurt to have that Kamloops 2nd round pick to play with as a part of any discussions. What else could the Broncos use? I suppose every team would benefit from scoring depth or a veteran centre… but if every team could use it that means the price would probably be pretty high. Coach Lamb has added some veteran depth in Linden Penner and Griffn Foulk over the last few weeks. If he is bringing anyone else in I would think that player would really have to be someone they thought would make an impact.
For now I’ll say I think the trade makes a lot of sense for both teams and I hope Brycen has a great run in Kamloops before making the jump to Buffalo’s organization. This could be one of those trades that works out well for both organizations.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
I’ll wrap the post up with a couple videos of the guys involved in the deal…