Chilliwack Chiefs general manager Harvey Smyl insists he won’t compromise the future to help his current roster in their playoff chase.
Coming off five straight losses, the Chiefs have dropped to fourth in the Interior conference. With Tuesday’s trade deadline looming, Chilliwack’s GM is avoiding knee-jerk reactions in favour of a more cautious approach.
“We want to be careful with our program and watch that we don’t trade away the future,” he said. “In general, we like our group, but we do have an abundance of 1992 born players, so that’s certainly one area where we may be able to do something.”
That group includes the entire top line of Malcolm Gould, David Bondra and Derek Huisman along with forwards Trevor Hills and Josh Hansen and defencemen David Thompson and Alexandre Perron-Fontaine.
Smyl must assess how much a move involving one of those players will help him this year.
The Penticton Vees are locked into top spot and barring an unlikely upset they appear destined to represent the Interior conference in the league final. It would take several moves to get Chilliwack on even footing with the Vees.
The teams Smyl must compare his to are the Vernon Vipers, Merritt Centennials and Prince George Spruce Kings.
“We haven’t played well against those teams the last few times out, but is this roster capable of beating them? No doubt in my mind,” Smyl said. “I really truly believe that we’ve hit a little bit of a rut, and it’s a matter of getting out of it and continuing to grow. Sometimes you battle through these types of situations and you get stronger.”
The Vipers made a major upgrade for free just prior to Christmas, getting their 2010-11 leading scorer, Dylan Walchuk, back from the college ranks. But Merritt and PG have yet to make any moves of consequence and you can make a case that Chilliwack is on par with those teams without making any big moves.
And even if Smyl does make a significant trade that gets the Chiefs into a playoff spot, how beneficial is that, really, given Penticton is built to steamroll all comers in the postseason?
“Penticton is very good, no question about that, and you move the future to just make fourth in the conference and have issues that way? It really isn’t going to happen,” Smyl said. “Don’t get me wrong, we want to be there. We want to be in the playoffs, but we’re not going to be stupid about it. We’re not going to trade 1993 or 1994 born players to get a 1991.”