GWMHL

Patrick Kane Traded to Salem

In HAM, SAL, Transactions on September 21, 2019 at 8:54 am

For the second season in a row, the Salem Sabercats have pulled off a major post-draft trade. Last year, it was the acquisition of Anze Kopitar, who went on to be a major part of its cup run. Now the Sabercats have taken an even bigger swing, acquiring star winger Patrick Kane and a third round pick from the Hamilton Ti-Cats for young winger Travis Konecny and Salem’s first and second round picks in 2020.

In 11 seasons with the Hamilton franchise, Kane has scored 30 goals five times, 40 goals once, and put together a monster 70-goal year in ’16-’17. He had a relatively down season by his standards in ’18-’19, with 33 goals and 69 points in 82 games. Salem hopes he’ll bounce back to point-per-game form. Konecny, entering his third GWMHL year, had 14 goals and 38 points in 57 contests last season.

Kane was a first overall pick for a then-Sacramento team that was on the cusp of moving to Nashville. The second pick that year? His new team- and (probably) linemate Nicklas Backstrom. There’s no question that the acquisition changes Salem’s outlook for the year: it addresses its biggest weakness (top-6 wingers) and puts one of the world’s best players in a position that otherwise might have been occupied by Gustav Nyquist. Whether this signals a rebuild or retool for Hamilton is another question. With Claude Giroux, Jeff Skinner, and Jakub Voracek, the team still has veteran star power up front. But the loss of Kane, who twice led the league in scoring, will be felt keenly.

Advertisements

Former GWMHL Star Kovalchuk Returns in Free Agent Draft

In Transactions on September 17, 2019 at 9:57 am

The 2019 Preseason Free Agent Draft has ended, headlined by one-time GWMHL star left-winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who went to the Great Lakes Pilotfirst overall.

Kovalchuk, the second overall pick in 2002, is 8th all-time in career goals and a member of the exclusive 1,000-point club. His arrival to the Portland Winterhawks via trade in 2006 led to four straight Gump Cups, and with Jarome Iginla and Joe Thornton, he formed possibly the league’s most potent trio. He notched a league-record 96 goals in 2008-09.

There was considerably less star power to be had in the rest of the Free Agent Draft, however, as teams fine-tuned their rosters ahead of the season. Grinder Garnet Hathaway went second to South Side, while Denver added goalie Jack Campbell third. Baltimore was the only team to make more than two picks, adding Mikko KoskinenJay BeaglePheonix Copley, and Antti Suomela.

Get the full 2019 Preseason Free Agent Draft results here.

South Side Shuffles Blueline

In DEL, SSR, Transactions, VAN on September 11, 2019 at 11:00 am

The South Side Renegades looked pretty good coming out of the rookie draft, having nabbed winger Brady Tkachuk, goaltender Jordan Binnington, and a quartet of young defensemen in Erik Cernak, Caleb Jones, Maxime Lajoie, and Christian Jaros.

But the rebuilding Renegades weren’t quite content with the makeup of their blueline, and made a pair of trades to change that. First, South Side acquired stay-at-home righty Chris Tanev from the Vancouver Night Train for third and fourth round rookie picks in 2020. Then, they flipped promising offensive rearguard Erik Gustafsson to the Delta Sturgeon for veteran Alec Martinez and Delta’s first rounder in 2020.

For Vancouver, it meant clearing roster space for recent draftee Filip Hronek. For Delta, what it hopes will be a PP superweapon to help get to the promised land. For South Side, it means a facelift of a blueline that, after Seth Jones, has long been in flux and either a step closer to a playoff berth or trade assets at the deadline if they’re out of the race.