Porter talks trade deadline, WHL overage players

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Photo by Darwin Knelsen for scbroncos.com

Interview with Broncos Director of Hockey Operations Jamie Porter:

Jamie Porter stopped by our broadcast booth today during the second intermission to chat trade deadline. It was an interesting conversation although of course they are not going to give away their strategy. It sounds like the Broncos are looking to make responsible additions to the club but this isn’t an effort to go “all in” and sacrifice the future for today.

The current trade market for overage players is intriguing as several moves have been made already for high prices. Does that mean the market is set or does it mean the overage players that are left have fewer places to go and the price drops. Probably a little of both. Teams are going to be aiming to get similar returns to what others have received, but they may not be able to get quite to that level given the extent of the remaining market.

I’m not saying the Broncos are only talking about overage players. That said their opening for a 20-year-old makes them a likely destination for one of the players left on the market. Who is available? Going by the lowest ranked teams in the standings…

  • F Tim Vanstone – Prince Albert (41: 6-10-16) Tough, two-way gritty leader from Swift Current. Raiders captain.
  • F Cavin Leth – Prince Albert (37: 10-4-14) Also a gritty two-way player and fast. Big player for Seattle in the playoffs last year. Former Bronco.
  • F Kolten Olynek – Prince Albert (36: 7-6-13) Has been on waivers and the Broncos didn’t take an interest at the time.
  • F Matt Alfaro – Kootenay Ice (40: 12-25-37) Strong two-way centre who has been in on 37% of his team’s goals.
  • F Zak Zborosky – Kootenay Ice (40: 28-16-44) Elite goal scorer in the WHL in on 44% of his team’s goals.
  • G Payton Lee – Kootenay Ice (3.84 GAA, 0.906 save percentage) Similar save percentage to Child and Burman
  • F Tyler Mrkonjic – Calgary Hitmen (37: 4-13-17) Don’t know him well. Big and strong but only 2 penalty minutes. Improved his scoring numbers this year.
  • D Michael Zipp – Calgary Hitmen (36: 3-13-16) Anchor of Calgary’s defence plays in every situation. Way ahead of previous production.
  • F Thomas Foster – Vancouver Giants (37: 10-17-27) Good skater and solid career production for former 1st round bantam pick.
  • D Jeff Rayman – Vancouver Giants (35: 3-0-3) Big defensive defenceman
  • D Dmitry Osipov – Vancouver Giants (35: 1-10-11) Big defensive defenceman who as an import is a two-spotter so not an option for Swift Current
  • F Jesse Shynkaruk – Saskatoon Blades (29: 13-12-25) Skilled top-six forward who found his offensive game after three seasons in the league
  • F Markson Bechtold – Saskatoon Blades (16: 6-3-9) Injured and the Blades just recently traded for him so very likely not an option
  • D Bryton Sayers – Saskatoon Blades (42: 3-15-18) Solid two-way defenceman who can move the puck
  • F Riley Stadel – Edmonton Oil Kings (29: 5-2-7) Recently acquired from Kelowna
  • F Tyler Robertson – Edmonton Oil Kings (38: 11-14-25) Good two-way forward with size. Played on the Memorial Cup winning team.
  • F Graham Millar – Edmonton Oil Kings (26: 10-8-18) Big forward has increased his production this year. Recently acquired from Everett in the Irving deal.
  • F Keanu Yamamoto – Spokane Chiefs (39: 15-22-37) Skilled top six forward with speed. Brother of star young forward Kailer both from Spokane.
  • F Alex Mowbray – Spokane Chiefs (6: 0-0-0) Former Medicine Hat Tiger had been available to anyone before recently claimed by Spokane.
  • G Jayden Sittler – Spokane Chiefs (3.21 GAA, 0.885 save percentage) Overage goalie with worse stats than both Broncos goalies.

Those are all the teams either currently out of the playoffs or on the fringe of the playoffs that I think could be sellers. Saskatoon recently added an overage forward so they may not be a seller it’s hard to say. Edmonton probably isn’t trading the two guys they recently traded for after trading away their star vets although you never really know. The other team who could be of interest is Kamloops as their addition of Lane Bauer has left them with four overage players. That means one of their three others would have to go.

  • F Matt Revel – Kamloops Blazers (31: 7-11-18) Solid scoring forward who previously played in Saskatoon. Listed as injured for 8 weeks so until late February.
  • F Collin Shirley – Kamloops Blazers (40: 17-20-37) Skilled top six forward had 79 points last year and 37 goals.
  • D Dallas Valentine – Kamloops Blazers (23: 1-4-5) Big defensive defenceman

The Blazers will have to move one of these three players and you would think Revel would be the most likely or at least the player they would most like to move because of his injury situation. That also may make him harder to move even though he would be a strong addition to any team.

This list doesn’t completely rule out players from other teams like Red Deer, Victoria, etc. I’m not going to list every overage player in the league so I have mostly focused on the teams I suspect could be selling veterans. Who would the Broncos be most interested in? I would guess the scoring forwards. Alfaro, Zborosky, Foster, Shynkaruk, Robertson, Millar, Revel and Shirley seem like the most logical players to pursue under those circumstances. Yamamoto would on that list but I can’t imagine Spokane trading him away from his brother and hometown. Vanstone and Leth are both players you could imagine Swift Current would have some interest in as well for strengthening their veteran depth towards a playoff run. I’m a big fan of both players. That said I imagine the ideal plan for Swift Current is to get someone who is scoring at a top six type of pace.

Who do you think they should target from that group or outside it?

Obviously the prices vary depending on the player, the team and the situation. Some or all might be too expensive right now. We’ll see if that price changes by Monday or Tuesday.

They also may be looking at some things other than overage players. So far I have no guess what that could possibly be. You never know in silly season.

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About shawnmullin

Play by Play Broadcaster for the WHL's Swift Current Broncos on 94.1 FM The Eagle.
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