Thoughts on the Trades

I apologize for the delay in getting this post together. It’s been a long few days covering the Stars and I crashed out pretty hard when I took a nap this afternoon. On Monday when thee two trade first went down I ended up working around 14 hours. And again yesterday I put in some extra work. That extra work was very much worth it as the SJHL trade deadline gave us plenty to talk about.

Let’s start with the two trade first and then some explanations.

These are the finalized deals.

Trade #1:

Nathan Zimbaluk, Jake Daughtry and futures (which I believe is cash) to Melfort for Mitch Berg

Trade #2:

Curtis Toneff to Westside Warriors for Klay Kachur

Trade #3:

Zack MacLellan to Estevan Bruins for future considerations (cash)

The first thing worth noting is that trade number 3 is dependent on Mac reporting to the Bruins. At this point that is up in the air. MacLellan is back in BC and may decide to sit out the rest of the season. I hope that isn’t the case as I would love to catch up with him when the Stars are down South at the end of the month.

So how did Zimbaluk end up in Melfort rather than MacLellan?

Well after the Stars finalized the trade and made it public Zack changed his mind about reporting to Melfort. Stars coach and GM Kevin Hasselberg went out of his way to NOT criticize MacLellan. Zack is a quality person and a good hockey player. As a 19 year old D man he was going to be a key player for the Stars next season. But the Stars decided to go for it this year and MacLellan was the cost of acquiring Berg. I can imagine being traded is not an easy thing to go through and leaving a team that you have become close with and that you have considered yourself a key part of for the better part of the season is very difficult. So MacLellan went back to BC to be close to family and friends. The Stars tried to work out a trade with a team closer to Zack’s hometown but the BCHL wasn’t showing interest in him and the SJHL very much was showing interested in acquiring the D man. So his rights end up in Estevan and they do have some time now to try and convince him to report.

Zimbaluk is a player the Stars have been watching all season and wondering if he might end up back in the Battlefords. The Regina Pats had made it pretty clear that they were not going to reassign the defenseman and that was the point that the Stars went out and picked up Berg and Kachur. The Pats then pulled off a trade to pick up a D man from the Prince George Cougars and released Zimbaluk back to the Star. At that point they didn’t have any cards left for Zimbaluk this season. And with the Berg trade kind of up in the air it is my understanding that the Stars decided to put Zimbaluk in the package for Berg to complete that trade and try to shop MacLellan. In a perfect world the Stars would have liked to have known Zimbaluk was coming back. It may have changed their plans slightly. But that wasn’t the case and the Stars did what they had to do to improve their team.

Coach Hasselberg did say that he was happy to send a good player to Melfort to help that program start to get turned around. It is the Stars belief that where you can you should be good to the other teams in the league. That sort of thing tends to come back around at some point in the future. If Zimbaluk doesn’t stick in the WHL next season the Mustangs will have a very good player to help try and get that team going the right direction. Jake Daughtry will help as well. Provided he can stay on the ice and not in the pressbox because of suspensions he will be a player that will help the Mustangs be more competitive the rest of the way. And as a 1993 born player he has a couple more years in the league.

Curtis Toneff is a player that you don’t always notice on the ice. And that’s a good thing. He is quietly effective as a defense first D man. He is also a quality person much like the other players the Stars traded away. All three are from BC which means I have fewer allies on the bus when the inter-provincial trash talk begins. The Stars are very big on bringing in good people off the ice that represent the area and the team in the right way. So every report I have heard on Berg and Kachur are that they fit that mold. In that regard the Stars have been very lucky this season. Toneff was the only BC kid who was traded back to BC so I am sure he is pretty happy to head closer to home. The Warriors probably won’t make the playoffs this year barring a miracle turn around. But they made deals yesterday to set themselves up for the future. Plus let’s face it. Who wouldn’t want to play in Kelowna? It’s a big city with lots to do and a very good program in Westside. The play by play broadcaster for the Warriors is an old friend of mine and he raves about the ownership, coaching staff, and fans. So Curtis is landing in a pretty good situation for the future.

So the Stars roster at this point is pretty set for the run to the playoffs and it looks roughly like this:
(these lines are a rough guess and as we have seen lately the Coaching staff will likely juggle this around)

Johnson – Tatchell – Miller
Schwab – Hall – Tagoona
Ethier – Newton – Rollins
Wakelin – Keller – Wuinn
Samborski

Sparrow – Forbes
Klassen – Luhning
Kachur – Berg
Sheeran

Hildebrand
Creech

Grayden Turner is on a junior b card and is still affiliated with this team and will get some games down the stretch. His ability to play forward or defense is a nice way to have depth at both positions in one player. The Stars like that in Turner.

The defense pairs likely won’t look like that as I imagine Berg or Kachur might get time with Sparrow. But it’s a nice problem to have. Sheeran will get lots of games as well and on most other teams in the SJHL would be a 3rd or 4th D man. That’s incredible depth on the backend for the Stars.

I managed to get away from the station today and go down to the rink to check out the Stars practice. (something I should do more often to be honest) It sounds like Berg will wear number 7 with the Stars and Kachur will wear number 29. I didn’t have a chance to chat with Mitch but I did talk for a while with Kachur. Klay is very excited to be here in the Battlefords. As a 20 year old he was looking to join a team with a chance to win a championship and to get to do it in his home province is something to which he is looking forward. He also said he grew up playing against some of the North Stars and there were some familiar faces in the locker room. I think he will fit in nicely. Beg I spoke to the day the trade happened and he only really wanted to come here if he got dealt. He was the captain in Melfort but I think he is enjoying the idea that he won’t have to be “the man” here in the Battlefords. He was the one kind of carrying the load for the Mustangs as their captain and arguably their best player. He was the face of that franchise this season and it sounds like just being one of many good players on a top team is something he is going to like. I also noticed coach Atcheynum spent a little bit of time with Berg at practice today just talking.

The other benefit of the trades for the Stars other than getting bigger, stronger and more experienced is the effect on the players who were already here. Blake Tatchell was happy when I mentioned Kachur’s playoff record with Powell River. He liked the experience that Kachur would bring. Coach Hasselberg indicated that it might have been one of the best practices all year. It seemed to me that the team was very upbeat. The practice was very uptempo (which I think is a regular feature of Stars practices) and there was a lot of positives down at the Civic Center this morning. Players like Tatchell, Miller, Klassen, Wakelin and all the 20 year old players must be incredibly energized after these moves. This is a clear statement from the North Stars staff that they think this team can win it all this season. It sends a message to the players that something special is going on and for guys in their last season with the program to know that the Stars are trying everything they can to make this a successful year I imagine those trades (despite it being tough to lose good team mates and friends in the process) were like a shot of energy into this group.

With those trades the North Stars staff was saying “hey kids lets go and do everything we can to win a title” and the kids response at practice today was something along the lines of “hell yeah”.

Now how will it take shape on the ice? Will the trades make the Stars better somewhere other than on paper? We will find out this weekend with Nipawin in town Friday at the Civic Center and then Humboldt on the road Sunday. A big weekend and as fan of the Stars I can’t help but think you are as energized as the players by these moves. Here’s hoping for a giant crowd Friday night to welcome two new players to the fold and to signal the start of the final run to this regular season.

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4 Comments

  1. Starsfan

     /  January 11, 2012

    You said… At that point they didn’t have any cards left for Zimbaluk this season. I was under the impression that Ken Pearson had already signed him to a Junior A card before the season had started… Zimbaluk was already on a card… Its great to see the stars get these new additions… I hope it doesnt disrupt the locker room.. Berg is a big defenceman that can do alot of things really well.. I dont know anything about Kachur but he sounds like he could play the same style as Sparrow… I’m excited to see what happens in the next few games.. Losing Mclennen hurts real bad. Hopefully Hasselberg can recruit some great players over the summer, which i’m sure he can.

    Reply
    • I obviously can’t comment on what happened when Ken Pearson was here as that was before my time. The Stars had Zimbaluk’s CJHL rights which is why when the Pats returned him to Junior A he was Stars property. But that doesn’t mean he was on a card. As I’m sure you know there is a difference between being on the Stars list and being on a card. Coach Hasselberg told me yesterday on the phone that by the time Zimbaluk was reassigned the Stars didn’t have a card for him. That’s the best I can do to answer your question, admittedly it isn’t a great answer, because I don’t know exactly who is carded and I have never seen the Stars list.

      As for the future? You are correct that losing MacLellan does hurt. He is a quality player and a quality kid and along with Brody Luhning would have been the Stars only 20 year D men next season. Coach Hassselberg talked about that too. He didn’t want to move MacLellan but said you have to give up something to get a player like Berg. This wasn’t a case where he was shopping around looking to move Zack MacLellan.

      I know that the Stars list is very strong and you can see the future for a guy like Forbes and Sheeran looks pretty good. And yes you are bang on the money when you say Coach Hasselberg is capable of recruiting some good players.

      At the end of the day though the Stars felt they had a chance to win it all with the 20 year old players on this team and wanted to do everything in their power to make this team as strong as possible for the SJHL playoffs. Which makes it an exciting time for Stars fans.

      Reply
  2. Starsfan

     /  January 12, 2012

    What I was told from an old SJHL coach/GM was that You’ve got a list of 50 players that are protected on your A list… The “C” list you can have as many players as you want on it, but the “c” list is only for hometown kids… They do not count towards your 50 man list unless they are signed… The “B” list is for kids who have previously played with your team then went up to another league and you still hold that kids rights… My understanding of CJHL rights is the same thing as a player signed.. If theres a player on your 50 man protected list that isnt signed and is 18 or older that kid can go and play anywhere else in Canada.. So lets say that Zimbaluk was on the stars “list” and wasnt signed, he would be able to go to any other league in Canada.. When a team has a players CJHL rights the only team they can play for is the team he is signed with… So how the stars had his CJHL rights and him not being signed to a Junior A card is beyond me.. I believe that at the start of the year each team is given 40 cards to sign players with. If I count correctly the stars only used 32 cards not including Zimbaluk, Unless I am missing something… I am very excited to see what this team can do.. I think all the pieces are in place, and if the guys want it, we should win. Another thing worth considering is I wonder if Kevin would keep kids like Danzak and Tatchell around once the AAA season is over. They could be put on “Affiliate player cards” and not count towards the 23 player limit..

    Reply
    • I believe that the number of cards available gets cut down sometime in December to around 25.

      As for APing a couple of Stars players I am sure they will do that. Blake Young would be the most likely of the forwards to join up with the Stars.

      Reply

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