Monday, 17 October 2011

Wheat Kings Acquire Pair of Veterans

Brandon Anderson
The Brandon Wheat Kings think they’re a better team today than they were before the weekend.

The club completed a pair of deals on Sunday, acquiring goaltender Brandon Anderson, 19, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes and forward Darian Dziurzynski, 20, from the Saskatoon Blades.

In the 6-foot-1, 185 pound Anderson, Brandon general manager Kelly McCrimmon feels they’ve gotten someone who has the potential to be one of the top netminders in the Western Hockey League.

“He’s capable of stealing a game…those types of things have been representative of how his career has gone in the league…I know he’s a guy that’s had some very good games against our team,” said McCrimmon on Sunday, “We think he’s a player that’s going to benefit by the trade, and be one of the top netminders in the Western Hockey League.”

Anderson, who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Washington Capitals in September of 2010, is 2-3-1 this season with a 3.78 GAA and .894 SPCT in six games this season. He had a 31-49-15 record with a 3.68 GAA and .890 SPCT in 107 career games with the Hurricanes.

In return for the Langley, B.C. product plus third and sixth round picks in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft, the Wheat Kings have up goaltender Liam Liston, 18, and defenceman Spencer Galbraith, 18, to the Hurricanes.

“We have a back-end with tremendous depth, and we were going to have to make some decisions with Brodie Melnychuk returning to play, hopefully, upon our arrival home from the coast,” adds McCrimmon, “We liked Corbin (Boes) and Liam (Liston) a lot, but we knew at some point we were going to have to split those ages up.”

Liston was 1-2 this season with a 4.77 goals against average and .864 save percentage in three starts with Brandon this season, and had career numbers of 22-17-1, 3.83 GAA and .879 SPCT.

Galbraith, meanwhile, was pointless in seven games this season, and had two goals and seven points in 49 career games with the Wheat Kings.

Darian Dziurzynski
Meanwhile, the Wheat Kings second deal Sunday is probably one which wouldn’t have been made before Wednesday.

The Saskatoon Blades dealing Dziurzynski for second round picks in 2012 and 2013 and a third round pick in 2014 not only solves their 20-year old situation this season, but also allows them to acquire some assets which may be key in building their team to host the 2013 Memorial Cup.

The Blades were awarded the hosting rights by the WHL Board of Governors this past Wednesday.

“The Memorial Cup announcement obviously played a huge part in this decision. With us getting that event, we suddenly had a number of teams showing interest in Darian,” said Blades GM/Coach Lorne Molleken in a release, “These draft picks will turn into players for us somewhere down the line, and they will be players that will be necessary in order for us to be competitive next season.”

The 6-foot-1, 204 pound Dziurzynski had 35 goals and 57 points in 72 games with the Blades last season, and has the well-deserved reputation as one of the WHL’s toughest players.

“Over this time in Saskatoon, he has developed into a premier player in our league,” said Brandon GM Kelly McCrimmon in a release, “With the rivalry that we’ve had with the Blades over the past few years, we have a healthy respect for how hard he plays the game.”

Dziurzynski was selected by the Phoenix Coyotes in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

He had three goals in four games since returning to the Blades from the Coyotes AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates.

Dziurzynski and Anderson are expected to practice with Brandon on Monday, and make their Wheat Kings debuts on Tuesday night when Brandon continues their road trip by visiting the Seattle Thunderbirds.

No comments: