KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The Tri-City Americans whittled their stock pile of 20-year-old players down to four Monday, trading defenseman Derek Ryckman to the Medicine Hat Tigers.
"It's hard," Ryckman said. "You know coming in there are only three spots. Being a fifth-year guy in the league, I knew I would have somewhere to play -- Tri or somewhere else. I'm a stay-at-home, shutdown type, and I'm glad I can fill that role for Medicine Hat."
In exchange for Ryckman, the Ams will get a fifth-round WHL bantam pick in 2014.
With Ryckman gone, the Americans have defenseman Drydn Dow and forwards Justin Feser, Patrick Holland, Jordan Messier and Jesse Mychan left.
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Holland, who is signed by the Montreal Canadiens, will leave at the end of the month for the Hamilton camp (Montreal's AHL affiliate) and is not expected to return.
All WHL teams must be down to three overage players by Oct. 10.
"With an overage problem, we needed to start getting closer to the WHL-mandated limit," Americans general manager Bob Tory said in a news release. "This move allows Derek to stay in the WHL during his final season of junior hockey."
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Ryckman came to the Americans in a trade with Lethbridge last October. He played 60 games for Tri-City last season, scoring two goals with eight assists, 80 penalty minutes and a career-best plus-27 rating. He also had two goals and two assists in 15 playoff games.
The Americans won the U.S, Division last year with a 50-18-2-2 regular-season record. They advanced to the Western Conference finals against Portland, where they lost in four games.
"I'll never forget that year," Ryckman said. "Getting 50 wins and a U.S. Division banner. I loved the fans and the coaching staff. I would have loved to have stayed. The friendships I made I will keep for years to come. I won't forget this place anytime soon."
Ryckman, who played three-plus seasons in Lethbridge before arriving in Tri-City, if quite familiar with the Tigers, having played against them many times in the Central Division.
"Medicine Hat has a good program with a lot of tradition," Ryckman said. "I played against them for years. I like their style of play and I'm excited to go there."
A native of Red Deer, Alberta, the trade puts Ryckman closer to home, as Medicine Hat is about 4 1/2 hours southeast of his hometown.
Ryckman left this morning to join his new team, but he'll be back Jan. 25, when the Tigers make their biennial trip to Toyota Center.
Notes: Seattle's Daniel Wray received a two-game suspension by the WHL for a major kneeing penalty Friday against Tri-City. Wray hit Dow at 10:59 of the second period and he did not return. Wray already has served one game. ... Victoria waived two overage players Sunday -- F Mike Forsyth and G Keith Hamilton. The Royals are down to two overage players. ... The Swift Current Broncos signed general manager and coach, Mark Lamb, to a three-year contract extension.