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WHL news of the day

Took a peek at the Rochester Americans site, and Tri-City defenseman Matt MacKenzie is on the roster wearing No. 47. No news if he will be returned any time soon. Rochester will play an exhibition game against the University of Western Ontario Mustangs tonight.

There were a couple of moves Thursday that will impact the U.S. Division.

First, the Spokane Chiefs traded 20-year-old Matt Marantz to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. With Darren Kramer's return from Ottawa, the Chiefs opted to trim their overage group before the Oct. 13 deadline.

Kramer (6-2, 210) is a big man and a key component in coach Don Nachbaur's system. He had 7 goals, 7 assists, a plus-10 rating and a league-high 46 fights and 306 PIMS last season.

Marantz had 20 goals and a plus-21 rating last season.

Also, the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired defenseman Braeden Laroque, 19, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a fourth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft.

Laroque had eight points and a minus-19 rating last year. If this move was made to help the T-birds take some pressure off goalie Calvin Pickard, I'm not so sure Laroque is the answer to that problem.

One of the better goalies in the league, Calvin has been left on his own too many times to try and save a game from disaster.

Calvin played 4013 minutes last year — tops in the league; had 2668 saves — tops in the league; played in league-high 12 shootouts , winning 7. In two games last year, he had 55 saves, but both games were lost in a shootout. Six times he had 50 or more saves and won just once. Against Spokane on Feb. 13, Calvin had 57 saves in a 3-1 win.

Defense? The T-birds need someone to put the puck in the net.

Also from Seattle, defenseman Kyle Verdino, 20, has left the Thunderbirds after signing an ATO with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, who are affiliated with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.

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