Bob Tory knows he has a good team, but the general manager of the Tri-City Americans wanted to add a little more icing to the cake.
Tory swung a deal Tuesday with the Prince George Cougars for the rights to forward Brett Connolly, who is in the midst of his rookie season for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"It's an opportunity to get a world- class player in our lineup," Tory said. "It's not our choice, but Tampa Bay's. They will decide what is best for him and his development, and their team.
"I talked to Steve Yzerman (Tampa Bay GM) last night. Brett is there, and he is playing. As time goes on, we'll see if anything materializes. If he can help us pursue a championship, that would be a huge coup for our hockey club."
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With Connolly's NHL contract already being enforced, the Lightning have the options of either keeping Connolly or reassigning him to Tri-City. Tampa Bay can take until the Feb. 27 NHL trade deadline to make its decision.
In exchange for Connolly's rights, the Americans sent Prince George a fifth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft, with conditional picks in 2013 and 2014 should Connolly get reassigned to Tri-City from Tampa Bay.
Connolly, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Prince George, was a first-round (sixth overall) pick by the Lightning in the 2010 NHL draft.
He was an alternate captain with Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship, scoring five goals in Canada's bronze-medal run.
On the final day of trading in the WHL, nine transactions were made, involving 12 teams, 12 players and 19 bantam draft picks.
Tory said he was interested in Victoria's Kevin Sundher, but the Royals preferred Brandon's offer.
"You don't always get them," Tory said. "Victoria thought what they were getting from Brandon was better than what we were offering. There were players I wouldn't trade. I like our team and our chemistry. The Connolly deal makes sense. There is little risk. Maybe we hit a home run here."
Major deals of the trade deadline included Portland acquiring German forward Marcel Noebels from Seattle, and Regina acquiring Slovakian defenseman Martin Marincin from Prince George.
The Winterhawks paid a hefty price for Noebels, trading forward Seth Swenson, 18, and first-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 bantam drafts.
Vancouver also traded its captain James Henry, 20, to Moose Jaw for a second-round pick in 2012 and a third-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft.
With the trade deadline behind them, the Americans (32-7-0-0, 64 points) can focus on the present, which includes three tough road games this week, starting tonight at Kamloops (28-10-1-2, 59 points).
Tri-City will play at Vancouver (26-14-1-1, 54 points) on Friday and at Spokane (20-13-2-3, 45 points) on Saturday.
"It's about as tough a week as we could have," Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. "It's a great test for us. We've only had the one road game in a few weeks. It's time to get out and do the dirty work on the road."
The Americans head into Kamloops on a 13-game win streak, and are 14-5-0-0 on the road. Leading scorer Adam Hughesman said having a string of wins gives them confidence going into the road trip.
"We are excited for the challenge," Hughesman said. "To be on a winning note going into Kamloops helps. It will be a good measuring stick for us. Our team chemistry is great. We support each other 100 percent out there and it shows in our record."
Though Hiller never reveals his starters before the game, tonight could be a good matchup between Tri-City's Ty Rimmer and the Blazers' Cole Cheveldave.
Rimmer (19-4-0-0), who leads the WHL with a 1.85 goals against average and a .938 save percentage, was named CHL goalie of the week after stopping 64 shots in shutouts of Moose Jaw and Everett.
Cheveldave (20-5-1-2) ranks third in the league in goals against average at 2.47, and has a .913 save percentage.
Notes: Cam Reid, whose rights were acquired by Portland on Monday from Edmonton, will leave St. Cloud State University and join the Winterhawks. Portland waived Dillon Wagner, 20, to make room for Reid. ... Hockey icons Pat Quinn and Mark Recchi will serve as coaches for the 2012 Top Prospects Game to be played Feb. 1 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia. Quinn will be behind the bench for Team Orr, and Recchi for Team Cherry. ... The Winterhawks will play host to the Kelowna Rockets twice this week, today and Friday. The Winter-hawks go into the series having won their last 14 home games, two shy of the franchise record that was set in 1993-94. ... Don Nachbaur, the head coach of the Spokane Chiefs, is on the verge of becoming the sixth coach in WHL history to win 500 games. Nachbaur is at 499 going into two straight games with the Everett Silvertips. They'll play in Spokane today and in Everett on Friday. Ken Hodge (742), Ernie McLean (548), Pat Ginnell (518), Lorne Molleken (543) and Don Hay (541) also have more than 500 victories.