LETHBRIDGE - The WHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday (Jan. 10) proved to be a busy day for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, swinging four deals before the 3 p.m. MT cut-off.
First, the Hurricanes dealt recently acquired forward Lane Zablocki to the Victoria Royals.
Then Lethbridge acquired 2000-born forward Keltie Jeri-Leon from the Kamloops Blazers in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in 2019.
Next up was the acquisition of forward Michael Horon, a Lethbridge native playing with the AAA Midget Hurricanes, from the Everett Silvertips in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft.
Finally, just before the deadline the Hurricanes acquired a seventh-round draft pick in 2018 from the Regina Pats in exchange for defenseman Brady Pouteau.
General Manager Peter Anholt met with the media after the deadline passed to discuss the days events, beginning with the decision to move Zablocki.
"That was a tougher deal for me to do. It just wasn't working here. It was a mistake on my part, the initial deal for Zablocki. We all make mistakes, it didn't turn out to be the trade that I had hoped. We didn't get the Lane Zablocki that I hoped we were getting. Now we've managed to recover a lot of the assets we've moved off, except for Tarzwell of course. Lane's going to go, and hopefully it works out well for him in Victoria," Anholt stated.
Anholt also says he's happy with where the team stands now after the four moves today, and the blockbuster trade with Swift Current on Tuesday.
"The moves put us at six defence, but we're in a situation where our affiliate players can come in at any given time. There was a bit of a concern when we made the decision to move Pouteau out, but we needed to get Koletrane Wilson in. He seemed to be the odd man out before, and we need to get him playing more in the second half of the season," Anholt said.
Anholt believes firmly this is a team that can still compete this season, and took issue with the WHL website story on the Zablocki trade being framed as a "selloff", which was eventually changed.
"Let's be very clear, that selloff headline caught my eye because it couldn't be further from the truth. We feel we've got the people in our dressing room to continue to compete and do well within our division, with lots of room for growth. Our kids are going to play down the stretch, and we feel we've still got strong goaltending," Anholt concluded, adding the Hurricanes brass don't believe they've taken a step back while also securing some future assets.
The Hurricanes will return to action this Friday night (Jan. 12), when they travel to Red Deer to take on the Rebels.
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