Chilliwack Chiefs general manager Brian Maloney was expecting a quiet BCHL trade deadline day, and that’s the way things unfolded, with the local junior A club staying off the transaction wire.
There were 10 trades completed Friday.
Twenty three swaps went down involving 28 players.
“Last year I was in the market for a defenceman, but this year we made some moves around late November/early December to bring in the pieces we wanted,” Maloney said. “We still haven’t had our team completely together year, but we feel like we’ve got a good mix of skill and grit, youth and experience.
“We feel we have a good enough team, once everyone’s healthy and we’re playing the right way, to do some damage in the playoffs this year and still get a good chunk of kids back next year.”
If Maloney was to pull off a significant move, it was likely to involve a younger player like a Brody Gagno, Garrett Valk or Hudson Thornton. Unwilling to part with a young player with future core potential, he said he didn’t come close to completing a deal.
“No. There were a lot of good players that got moved, but I didn’t think they’d help us enough for the price we’d pay,” he said. “When you add players it doesn’t always work, even though every general manager is wishing it does. The player you add might come in and do a fantastic job, but there might be another area that suffers, and those are the things that are running through your mind when you’re thinking about doing something.”
The BCHL-leading Coquitlam Express loaded up the defence, acquiring two veterans. Joey Berkopec came over from the Merritt Centennials fire sale in return for future considerations and the Express sent Addison Macey to the West Kelowna Warriors for 20 year old Wyatt Head.
The latter move was the ‘Head’ liner.
The Kelowna kid picked up 42 points in 58 games last season and has eight points in nine games this year. He picked up an assist in his Express debut Saturday against Chilliwack, and scored a goal in an 8-1 drubbing of Langley Sunday.
“I expected Coquitlam to do something. They’re selling the farm to go for it this year because they have the experience to do it, but we’ll see,” Maloney said. “Wyatt Head is a heckuva player, but that comes with a cost for next year.
“Guys like Brody and Garrett and Hudson are huge prospects for 2020-21 and I didn’t want to move them. Plus, they’re good kids who fit in very well with the culture we want to develop in Chilliwack.”
The Chiefs took on the Express Saturday night at home, stunning Coquitlam with a 6-1 win – a result that reinforces Maloney’s belief that his crew can compete with the BCHL’s best.
“Exactly what I’m talking about, where I don’t need to make a ton of acquisitions to beat good teams if we have all our guys in the lineup and we’re playing the right way,” Maloney said. “We were ready to go from the start and that’s the result you get from a good team that wants to work.”