Friday, 10 January 2014

Wheat Kings Stand Pat at Deadline

Kelly McCrimmon
  It was a quiet day for the Brandon Wheat Kings.

  The club did not make any moves prior to Friday's Western Hockey League trade deadline.

  That was a big contrast from 12 months ago when Brandon made three separate deals, and it's the first time since 2009 the club hasn't done something either at or just before the trade deadline.

  "When it comes down to it, we didn't want to change the makeup of our team.  We're encouraged with the young players that we have.  We don't have a lot of older player and the ones that we have are valuable, important and are good contributors to our team," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on Friday afternoon, "If you're not prepared to move prospects, draft picks or players then you can't expect that you're going to be very deeply involved in discussions for some of the players that were traded."

  McCrimmon also notes that the moves the team made in November to acquire forward Peter Quenneville and defenceman Ryan Pilon in separate deals had a bearing on standing pat on Friday.

  The Wheat Kings are 13-5-4-0 in 22 games since November 11th and McCrimmon is rightfully pleased with the progress his team has shown so far this season.

  The challenge, now, is for the team to continue that learning curve for the next two months.

  "I think guys believe we have improved and I think, collectively, we think we have lots of room left yet to continue to get better," said McCrimmon, "That's going to be the challenge now for our team is to show that improvement internally, to be the best team that we can be when the playoffs start."

  Among the moves that were completed on Friday was the Regina Pats sending former Wheat King Geordie Maquire to the Swift Current Broncos for a sixth round pick in the 2015 Bantam Draft while the Saskatoon Blades assigned Wawanesa product Jordan Thomson to the MJHL's Dauphin Kings.  The Blades had acquired Thomson's rights from the Kamloops Blazers on Wednesday.

  Here's my full interview with Kelly McCrimmon after the WHL trade deadline had passed... my count, there were 31 trades involving 54 players and 45 draft picks from the end of the Christmas break on December 27th to Friday's WHL trade deadline.

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