Chilliwack Chiefs bench boss Jason Tatarnic said he wasn’t looking to accomplish a lot at last Saturday’s BCHL trade deadline.
But the two moves he made may accomplish a great deal for his team down the stretch.
Tatarnic started with a goalie switch, swapping backup stoppers.
In comes David Jacobson, a 20 year old California kid who made a name for himself in the USHL.
Out goes David Poirier, dealt to the Maritime Hockey League’s Dieppe Commandos for futures.
“To be honest, we weren’t actively looking for a goalie,” Tatarnic said. “It was presented to us. We thought about it and everything we came back with was, this was going to make us a better hockey team.”
Jacobson should give Tatarnic more stability in goal.
Incumbent starter Aidan Pelino has had his ups and downs as a BCHL rookie.
His numbers, a 2.92 goals-against average and .900 save percentage, aren’t anywhere near the top tier, though he’s shown potential at times.
“This trade wasn’t based on Aidan’s performance,” Tatarnic insisted. “He’s shown us what he’s capable of, but when you can add a piece that makes you better and strengthens the position, you have to do it.”
“And since David’s been here, Aidan’s been real sharp,” the coach continued. “It’s going to make for healthy competition, and I’ve told them they’ll have to fight for every inch of that goal crease.”
The second trade brought Scott Davidson to Chilliwack in a deal with the Trail Smoke Eaters.
The Trail native was acquired in exchange for defenceman Evan McEachern and futures.
Again, Tatarnic said it wasn’t a deal he sought out.
“We went into the deadline thinking we’d like to add a bigger bodied forward who plays a hard-style game,” he said. “Davidson was presented to us. We came back from the Friday game in Langley and discussed it for quite some time.”
Tatarnic said he didn’t want to deal McEachern, a 20 year old defenceman who brought mobility and puck skills to the Chiefs D.
“It was a good player and good person moving out,” he noted. “We took a little longer looking at that one, but that was another deal we felt made our team better.”
After injuries decimated his D earlier this season, Tatarnic could have been hesitant to trade a blueliner, and that was part of the discussion.
“And after the trade we were debating whether to try and add an eighth D-man or not,” he said.
The net result of the two trades is a team Tatarnic believes is well set up for the stretch run and playoffs.
With none of Chilliwack’s Mainland division rivals making significant acquisitions, the Chiefs should be the favourite.
“Our division is very underrated, and we’re right in the mix,” Tatarnic said. “Langley’s big and plays hard. Prince George and Coquitlam are both good teams. The playoffs are going to be tough no matter who you play, and I think the teams facing us will feel the same about us as we feel about them.”
— The Merritt Centennials were the most active team at the deadline, adding depth in Zak Bowles and Griffyn Martin.
Bowles, a 19 year old forward, came from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and has five goals and 14 points in 36 games.
Martin, a 20 year old D-man acquired from Trail, brings just as much production from the blueline, where he has three goals and 14 points in 36 games this year.
The Coquitlam Express sent 19 year old defenceman Anthony Gardner to Trail and brought in 19 year old defenceman Taylor Green (10-0-2-2) from Nanaimo.
Prince George added 18 year old forward Nick Guerra (18-4-2-6) in a trade with Nanaimo and brought in 18 year old blueliner Cole McCaskill (22-0-4-4) from Salmon Arm.
Langley did not make a trade.