The BCHL trade deadline is Thursday and Chilliwack Chiefs hockey boss Brian Maloney figures to be on the phone most of the day.
It’s his last chance to bolster the roster of his league-leading Chiefs as they head into the last 20 games of the regular season schedule.
Maloney doesn’t see himself as a buyer, despite his team being tied with Prince George for top spot in the 17 team league.
But if there’s a chance to make a deal that helps in the present without hurting the future, he’ll take it.
“First and foremost, it’s tricky in this league because all of the teams except one make the playoffs, and the one that doesn’t make the playoffs still thinks it will,” Maloney noted. “So there’s not a lot of sellers. So you start thinking about grabbing someone from another province, but that’s quite risky. A kid who’s doing well in Alberta or Saskatchewan might not do as well out here, so what do you give up?”
Maloney doesn’t want to give anything up, which makes it hard to strike a deal. And he’s found that other GMs are wanting a ton for players, more than he considers realistic.
“Some guys are out to lunch with what they think they’re going to get,” Maloney said.
Add it up and don’t anticipate any earth-shaking moves.
“We have a good group of guys right now and a good core coming back next season, and we want to make sure we have that good foundation in place,” Maloney said. “That being said, if something comes up that’ll help us, if the right piece comes available, we feel like we owe it to this group to make a run for it.”
Maloney feels great about his forward corps, particularly with the offensive explosion of recently acquired winger Jacques Bouquot.
After collecting just one assist in his first nine games with the Chiefs, the 18 year old has posted six goals and 15 points in his last seven.
“When everyone’s healthy we feel we have the two best lines in the league,” Maloney said.
If he could add one piece, it would be a veteran defenceman. The young Chilliwack D has help up well enough, but an experienced guy would be a huge help in the playoffs.
“We have a lot of young guys on the back end who are getting better because they’re playing here,” Maloney said. “Will it be too much for them to handle as we move on? I don’t know, so if there’s someone out there with experience who makes sense, we might do it.”
As a former player, Maloney understands the locker-room dynamic.
On one hand, his players would probably like to see a high end guy or two brought in to help with (hopefully) a long playoff run.
On the other hand, someone’s got to go out the door if someone comes in.
It’s never easy for players thinking they might be the one who gets moved.
“I think if we moved anyone out I’d get a lot of flack from the guys because they think they’ve got the group to do it,” Maloney said. “If they truly believe that, then you’ve got to give them a chance.
“I don’t think they understand what a good veteran will bring, but that’s why the player’s got to be the right personality too If the guy comes in and he’s a good teammate he won’t take long to gel with this group.”
— As of Monday morning, two trades had been made that look like ‘clearing roster room’ deals.
The Victoria Grizzlies sent 20 year old goalie Kyle Dumba to the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks for futures and the Wenatchee Wild sent 18 year old D-man Noah Kim to the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs for futures.
That’s two top BCHL teams who gave themselves roster flexibility heading into Thursday.
Track transactions at bchl.ca and get the full trade deadline roundup in Friday’s Progress sports section.