The Prince Albert Raiders chose not to make any trades on Thursday in a light deadline day around the Western Hockey League.
GM Bruno Campese called it one of the quieter Jan. 10s in recent history. He said his staff had identified needs and already acted on them.
“We decided that it was better for us to be proactive and not wait and we did,” he said. “Leading up to the deadline, we were listening to a couple of things but at the end of the day, we felt really good with our group and didn’t want to be in a position to really change the mix any more.”
On Jan. 1, the team picked up defenceman Dylan Busenius, 19, and forward Jayden Hart, 18, and a 2014 sixth-round bantam draft pick. In return, they dealt forward Logan McVeigh, 18, defenceman Zach Hodder, 19, prospect Connor Hobbs, 15, and a 2013 second-round pick.
Campese says he prefers to deal prior to the deadline.
“My experience has told me that you’re better off getting things done earlier than waiting. I think the more time you give yourself to think things out and rationalize things in your own mind, the better decisions you make. I’m not saying you can’t make good deals on Jan. 10 because you certainly can but I think it becomes much more difficult.”
Campese said while there were some quality 19- and 20-year-old players out there, the 1993 group is thinner than other age groups.
He says the trade market slowed a bit based on a combination of teams hanging on to their guys to make playoff runs and the price of potential acquisitions.
“I think prices were driven so high earlier in the year with several transactions that were made that the expectations going in to the deadline was that teams were really going to make out extremely well,” Campese said. “I think what teams found out was that for the most part, a lot of teams are still in the playoff hunt and they weren’t really willing to part with a whole bunch and there weren’t the quality or quantity that some teams were looking for.
“I think there were some players available, but at the end of the day the price did not justify the means to getting something done.”
Campese said he was surprised by any of the players who changed teams or the fact that Saskatoon was a buyer.
They picked up three forwards, Brandon’s Michael Ferland, 20, Kootenay’s Erik Benoit, 19, and Spokane’s Collin Valcourt, 19, while trading forward Adam Kambeitz, 20.
“They’re hosting a Memorial Cup,” he said. “You think they would do whatever they needed to do to acquire some depth in different positions. I’m not surprised at all. As a matter of fact, I’m surprised they didn’t do more.”
The Blades have acquired two 2014 third round picks this season. Meanwhile, they have dealt many of their picks in the first five rounds of the 2013 and 2014 drafts.
Campese spoke to his team after the deadline passed and said he told them the season is now in their hands.
“We identified a need or two, we took care of that and at the end of the day, this group here has gotten us to the point we’re at today. We want to provide this group an opportunity to continue on.”
WHL DEADLINE DEALS
• Kootenay trades F Erik Benoit, 19, to Saskatoon for a 2013 fourth-round bantam pick.
• Saskatoon trades F Adam Kambeitz, 20, to Seattle for a 2014 third-round bantam pick.
• Spokane trades F Collin Valcourt, 19, to Saskatoon for 2015 first-round and 2013 fifth-round bantam draft picks.
• Brandon trades F Michael Ferland, 20, to Saskatoon for a 2013 first-round bantam draft pick.
• Regina trades F Colten Mayor, 19, to Calgary for F Carson Samoridny, 18, and a 2013 fourth-round bantam draft pick.
• Moose Jaw trades F Andrew Johnson, 18, to Seattle for a 2013 fourth-round bantam draft pick.
• Brandon trades F Alessio Bertaggia, 19, to Spokane for F Marek Kalus, 19, Rhett Gardner, 16, a 2013 third-round pick and a 2013 fifth-round bantam draft pick.
• Everett trades D Nick Walters, 18, F Taylor Sanheim, 16, to Brandon for D Ayrton Nikkel, 17, and a 2015 sixth-round bantam draft conditional pick.