Chiefs make unexpected deal

Derek Huisman is a Merritt Centennial and Austin Plevy a Chilliwack Chief after an offseason deal between the BCHL teams.

Chilliwack Chiefs general manager Harvey Smyl didn’t get the reputation he has by being timid.

Gutsy trades are part of his repertoire, and he made his latest Thursday afternoon, finalizing a team-altering deal with the Merritt Centennials.

Smyl shipped Derek Huisman to the Interior conference team.

In return for the 20-year-old center, the Chiefs got 18-year-old Austin Plevy plus the playing rights to 20-year-old goaltender Keith Hamilton.

“I am so excited to get the opportunity to play for Harvey Smyl and the Chiefs again,” Plevy said in a news release. “Chiefs fans are amazing and Prospera Centre is one of the premier places to play junior hockey.”

Smyl is familar with Plevy’s abilities, having coached the Langley native from 2009-11 with the Langley Chiefs.

The five-foot-nine and 165 pound forward came into his own as an offensive force last season, scoring 13 goals and adding 30 assists for 43 points in 58 games.

He was also on Team West at the Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Game in November 2011.

“Austin is a hard working and extremely skilled forward who has a very high compete level,” Smyl said in a news release. “He will bring the effort and attitude we expect from a Chief.”

The acquisition of Hamilton is interesting.

The Kelowna native spent last season putting up woeful numbers with the woeful Victoria Royals (ex-Chilliwack Bruins) in the Western Hockey League. In 58 appearances he managed a 4.10 goals-against average and .880 save percentage.

Hamilton played 33 games with Merritt in 2009-10, and his numbers weren’t much better.

But does his potential arrival hint at some uncertainty with presumed starter Mitch Gillam, who has committed to Colgate for 2013-14?

It’s unlikely a 20-year-old goaltender is going to be happy in a backup role.

As for Huisman, his contributions at both ends of the ice will be missed. The Smithers native did a fine job offensively in 2011-12 (30 goals and 65 points in 58 games), but Smyl made far more of his faceoff and defensive abilities.

Plevy may well be able to match or exceed Huisman’s offensive output, but he’ll be hard-pressed to do everything Huisman did.

It is certainly a trade that hints at more trades/moves to come.

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