The Kamloops Blazers made one move at the WHL trade deadline on Thursday.
Carson Denomie, an 18-year-old forward from Regina, was traded to the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft.
Denomie, picked by the Blazers in the fifth round of the 2015 bantam draft, had 23 points, including seven goals, in 102 games for Kamloops.
This year’s deadline was extremely quiet relative to last year’s trade frenzy.
WHL clubs are prohibited from trading signed 15- and 16-year-old players and can only deal 17-year-olds if the player requests the trade, rules that came into effect this season.
“Last year, we saw how many of those young players were moved,” Blazers’ general manager Matt Bardsley told KTW. “Now, with those players not eligible to be moved, it gives you a smaller age group to work with.
“With draft picks, teams weren’t as willing to do as much, outside of the Portland-Swift Current trade.”
The Broncos on Wednesday dealt 18-year-old starting goaltender Joel Hofer to Portland for six draft picks, including two future first-round selections.
Bardsley was asked about the market for overage goaltenders.
“Goaltender is unique,” he said. “If you make that trade, unless you’re taking a 20-year-old goaltender back, you’d be taking a 20-year-old defenceman or a 20-year-old forward.
“Teams that maybe had interest in doing that to get the goalie, the problem they had is, ‘OK, we’ll make that trade,’ but now they have to go replace that forward or defenceman they lost, for the most part a key part of their team.
“It was almost like they had to make two trades just to be able to get their goaltender. With [Blazers’ goaltender Dylan] Ferguson being a 20-year-old and Victoria has [Griffen] Outhouse, it’s certainly not easy for teams to do that on either end, whether we’re moving the goalie out or a team is trying to acquire him.”
Bardsley took calls throughout the day, but said he never came too close to pulling the trigger on any other deals.
Kamloops jettisoned a pair of veterans — 20-year-old forward Luc Smith and 19-year-old defenceman Nolan Kneen — in transactions that preceded the WHL trade deadline by 45 days.
The Blazers are stockpiling draft picks.
They have full sets of their own for the 2019 and 2020 drafts, although there is a condition on the Blazers’ fourth-round pick in 2020. If Kobe Mohr remains with Kamloops next season, the Edmonton Oil Kings receive the pick as part of a trade made in May.
The Blazers are slated to pick twice in the first, fourth and seventh rounds in 2019.
In 2020, Kamloops has acquired extra second- and fourth-round picks, along with a pair of extra picks in both the third and sixth rounds.
“Teams that have a good surplus of picks are putting themselves in a good situation to draft,” Bardsley said.
“We still have the flexibility of moving picks for a player in the off-season or even at the draft.
“Your draft is the bloodline to your team.”