The Western Hockey League trade deadline is Friday, but teams were wheeling and dealing Wednesday, including the Tri-City Americans.
The Americans traded defenseman Wil Tomchuk, 19, to the Prince George Cougars for a conditional pick in the 2015 WHL draft.
“When Wil and Mitch (Topping) get healthy, we would have eight defensemen,” said Tri-City general manager Bob Tory. “And, we weren’t looking for Wil to play here next year as an overage. We get a third-round pick and Prince George gets a great kid who gives them depth on the blue line and someone to play there next season.”
Tomchuk, who is recovering from wrist surgery, is expected to play by the end of the month. If all goes as planned, the third-round pick will stand. If Tomchuk isn’t able to play as scheduled, the Americans will get a lower-round pick.
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A native of Fort McMurray, Alberta, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Tomchuk was thrown off guard Wednesday when told of the trade.
“It was kind of shocking at first, especially after a year and a half,” Tomchuk said. “There are mixed emotions. Bob is giving me an opportunity to play somewhere else, but it’s tough to leave the guys you’ve gotten close to.”
Tomchuk was listed by the Americans in April 2012 and signed with the team the following month. In 90 WHL games — all with Tri-City — he has one goal, three assists and 61 penalty minutes.
Tomchuk will leave Friday and arrive in Prince George on Saturday.
“I can’t say I know anyone up there,” Tomchuk said. “It will all be new to me, starting all over again.”
Americans athletic therapist Darcy Ewanchuk already has sent Tomchuk’s file to the Cougars so his rehabilitation can continue when he arrives.
“Darcy called their trainer and a doctor there to look at me,” Tomchuk said. “That’s all organized, which is good. Darcy took good care of me.”
Right now, Tory said there are no other deals in the works, but there’s still a day and a half before the trade deadline.
“There are a lot of calls going on,” Tory said. “It’s been tough for us to evaluate our team because of the injuries. We aren’t going to jeopardize our future.”
Also Wednesday, ROOT Sports and the WHL announced an eight-game schedule that will feature three Americans games.
Tri-City will not have any home games broadcast, but they will be on the air Jan. 31 at Edmonton, Feb. 28 at Everett and March 14 at Spokane.
In other trades Wednesday:
Calgary Hitmen: Acquired the rights to forward Adam Tambellini, 19, from the Portland Winterhawks in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2014 WHL bantam draft.
Prince Albert Raiders: Acquired overage defenseman Graeme Craig from the Saskatoon Blades, along with the Blades’ seventh-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft and their fifth-round selection in 2016. In exchange the Raiders sent overage defenseman MacKenzie Johnston, defenseman Tyler Dea, 18, and third and fifth-round selections in the 2015 bantam draft.
Kelowna Rockets: Acquired overage forward Marek Tvrdon from the Vancouver Giants in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2014. Kelowna also traded overage forward Zach Franko to the Kootenay Ice for a sixth-round draft pick in 2014 and a third-round pick in 2016.