If you thought Monday's deal involving Libor Hajek to Regina was big, take a gander at what the Saskatoon Blades did Wednesday!
In two seperate transactions, the Bridge City Bunch added 20-year-old goaltender Tyler Brown from Regina and 19-year-old winger Max Gerlach from Medicine Hat while dealing away 20-year-old centre Cam Hebig and 19-year-old goaltender Ryan Kubic to the Pats.
First was the Regina deal where the Blue and Gold sent Hebig and Kubic for Brown, 17-year-old left winger Bryan Lockner and four Bantam Draft picks...1st round in 2020, 2nd round in 2020, 3rd round in 2019 and 3rd round in 2021.
The Blades, then, turned around and sent Lockner to Medicine Hat, along with two of Saskatoon's own Bantam Draft picks...1st round in 2020 and 2nd round in 2021...in order to obtain Gerlach.
Gerlach is in his third season in the W-H-L, having scored 30 and 34 goals for the Tigers the previous two campaigns. This season, the 5'9", 162-pound product of Flower Mound, Texas has 16 goals amongst 35 points in 35 games. A Winnipeg native, Brown is in his fourth WHL season...with 76 wins, seven shutouts and a 3.02 goals against-average for his career.
Hebig is a 20-year-old Saskatoon product who was the Blades leading scorer with 30 goals amongst 58 points. In four seasons with the Bridge City Bunch, Hebig posted 193 points...including 87 points...in 237 games. He sits 50th on the all-time Blades' point-scoring list. Kubic was acquired from Vancouver just before the season started. In 20 games, he had an 8-11-1 record, a 3.96 goals against-average and an .871 save percentage.
Meanwhile, the Blue and Gold pulled off another swap Wednesday afternoon, acquiring 17-year-old centre Eric Florchuk from Victoria for three Bantam Draft picks...first rounders in 2019 and 2021 as well as a fourth round selection in 2018.
Florchuk could join Brown and Gerlach will be in the Saskatoon line-up for the 7-05 contest against Medicine Hat at SaskTel Centre. The broadcast on 92-9, THE BULL begins at 6:30. Following are the news releases from the Blades...
The Saskatoon Blades announced Wednesday morning two separate transactions with the Regina Pats and the Medicine Hat Tigers.
First, the Blades sent overage forward ’97 born Cameron Hebig and ’98 born goaltender Ryan Kubic to the Regina Pats in exchange for ’97 born goalie Tyler Brown, ’00 born forward Bryan Lockner, Regina’s 2020 1st round draft pick, Regina’s 2020 2nd round pick, and Regina’s 2019 and 2021 3rd round draft picks.
In a separate deal, the Blades then acquired ’98 born forward Max Gerlach from the Medicine Hat Tigers in exchange for ’00 born forward Bryan Lockner, Saskatoon’s 2020 1st round pick, and Saskatoon’s 2021 2nd round pick.
In Gerlach, the Blades add a bona-fide top line winger with 179 career regular season games under his belt and 11 playoff contests. A perennial 30 goal scorer, Gerlach who is originally from Flower Mound, Texas, debuted in the WHL with Tigers at age 17 and scored 30 goals and 15 assists appearing in all 72 games as a rookie. Last season as an 18-year-old, Gerlach once again played in all 72 games, this time scoring 34 goals and 62 points. Through 35 games this year, the veteran winger has 16 goals and 19 helpers.
Gerlach was originally drafted in the 6th round by the Tigers, 120th overall, and has 142 career points in 179 contests.
In Brown, the Blades add a veteran goaltender with over 150 games experience and a career .904SV%. In 152 career games, Brown has won 76 games and posted 7 shutouts. He also has a wealth of post-season experience to bring to the table with 35 post-season games to his credit.
Saskatoon Blades General Manager Colin Priestner explained the process of the three way deal.
“Cameron was a fantastic player for us since he was 16 and it is tough to move a player of his quality but we feel this deal gives us pivotal assets for the future with another projected lottery pick from a rival team, and we knew with some of the assets recovered in this deal we could go out and get a player of Max Gerlach’s ability.” said Priestner, who added Gerlach will give the Blades another year of offensive support. “Max is a pure sniper who sees the game at a high level and is one of the top goal scoring wingers in the WHL over the last three years. He will be a major two-year player for us and gives us the scoring threat we were looking for for our young franchise centremen. Players like him do not come available very often and the fact he can play for this year and next year as an overage made this decision easy for us.”
In the deal with Regina, Priestner touched on the benefits of adding an experienced net minder like Brown. “Tyler has 35 games of playoff experience as a starter, as he will make an excellent tandem with our young tender (Nolan Maier).” said Priestner. “This move also gives Ryan an opportunity to get a chance to play in the Memorial Cup and we wish him the best in Regina.”
The Blades would like to thank Cameron Hebig who was drafted by the Blades and grew up in Saskatoon for his contributions to our organization and community. We wish him the best of luck with Regina at the Memorial Cup in May. Cam played 238 games with Saskatoon and will be missed.
The Blades would also like to thank Ryan Kubic for his contributions to our team and city during his tenure with Saskatoon, and wish him the best with the Pats.
To Saskatoon: ’98 F Max Gerlach ’97 G Tyler Brown 2020 1st round pick (REG) 2020 2nd round pick (REG) 2019 3rd round pick (REG) 2021 3rd round pick (REG)
To Regina: ’97 F Cam Hebig ’98 G Ryan Kubic
To Medicine Hat: ’00 Bryan Lockner 2020 1st round pick (SAS) 2021 2nd round pick (SAS)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The Saskatoon Blades are pleased to announce the acquisition of 2000 born forward, Eric Florchuk, from the Victoria Royals. In exchange, the Blades have sent Victoria a 2019 1st round draft pick (SAS), a 2021 1st round draft pick (SAS), and a 2018 4th round draft pick (BDN).
Florchuk, a 6’1″ forward from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, was selected in the first round, 13th overall in the 2015 WHL draft by the Royals. As a 16-year-old rookie last season, Florchuk put up 3 goals and 6 assists in 51 outings. This year, Florchuk already has 28 points (7G-21A) through 43 games with Victoria.
“Players of Eric’s quality who are in their draft year do not come available very often. We are extremely excited to add him to our emerging group and he will be a top-end talent for us to build around over the next 3 years. He has played extensively with Kirby (Dach) and Chase (Wouters) and we feel this is a major piece to our goal of building a championship team.” explained Blades GM Colin Priestner, referring to Florchuk playing minor hockey growing up with Kirby Dach in Fort Saskatchewan and being on a line with Chase Wouters at the 2016 World U17 Championships where they won Silver together.
“He is a player that we have all loved since his draft year, and his two-way style and commitment to the defensive side of the puck have made him a big favorite amongst our scouts. He can play centre and left wing and can also help both special teams,” added Priestner. The Blades GM also went on the explain the exchange going to Victoria. “The amount of picks we received back for our veterans allowed us to move some key assets to get this done while still retaining the two 1st round picks from Regina that we project to be high-end picks in 2019 and 2020.”
Florchuk celebrates his 18th birthday today and will be competing Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. The annual bout features 40 of the top NHL draft eligible players from the WHL, OHL, and QMJHL. Eric was named to the NHL Central Scouting’s “Players to Watch” list for November and will look to showcase his skills with the Blades in hopes of hearing his name called at the draft in June taking place in Dallas, TX.
Eric is expected to arrive in Saskatoon today and may possibly make his debut in the lineup tonight versus the Medicine Hat Tigers. He will wear jersey #17.