The Kelowna Rockets have added a 20-year-old defenceman to its roster in a trade with the Prince Albert Raiders.
The Rockets acquired veteran defenceman Brendon Wall from the Raiders in exchange for a conditional 7th round draft pick in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.
“We had an opportunity to acquire a 20-year-old defenceman,” said Rockets president/general manager Bruce Hamilton. “We aren’t certain where our 20-year-old situation sits right now with all these guys going to NHL training camps.”
The 6-foot-1 191 pound Wall will enter his fourth WHL season after playing 62 games with the Raiders last season.
“I’m really excited, it’s a top organization,” said Wall. “I’ve heard nothing but good things.”
A Saskatoon native, Wall grew up and played minor hockey with current Rockets forward Codey Ito.
Wall joins fellow 20-year-old players Evan Bloodoff, Geordie Wudrick, Tyler Matheson and Kyle St. Denis as overage players on the Rockets roster.
“We’ve got a pretty good track record of sending guys to the pros so we’re not sure who is coming back,” said Hamilton.
The Kelowna Rockets have swapped defencemen with the Moose Jaw Warriors, sending Collin Bowman to the Warriors in exchange for Kevin Smith.
A three year veteran, Smith, 19, played 70 games with Moose Jaw last season, scoring seven goals and adding 17 assists and 76 penalty minutes.
Bowman, 19, played three full seasons with the Rockets but requested a move to another team at the end of last season.
“Collin thought a change might be best for him,” said Rockets president/general manager Bruce Hamilton. “I worked away at this all summer trying to find a suitable deal for Collin and most importantly for the Kelowna Rockets. It was imperative we got a defenceman in return.”
In Smith, the Rockets hope to fill the role Bowman was playing with the team. The 6-foot-2 192 pound Smith is a native of North Vancouver and has played 169 career regular season WHL games, all with Moose Jaw.
“In Smith we hope he will be similar to Collin,” said Hamilton. “Anytime you lose a guy that has been with you for three years it’s difficult. Collin played hard for us every night. In his case a player that is not happy here needs to be in a situation where he is happy.”
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)