Stars pull off a blockbuster trade

The Battlefords North Stars have pulled off another trade and this time it’s a blockbuster. The Stars have sent last season’s leading scorer Matty Sahatchuk to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in exchange for forward Dustin Gorgi and future considerations. Both players are 1995 born and entering their final years in Junior Hockey.
Saharchuk is from Fort St James BC and in his lone season in the SJHL posted 16 goals and 36 points plus 8 point in 9 playoff games.
Gorgi is a Red Deer native with plenty of experience. He split last season between Olds and Grande Prairie in the AJHL. In 119 career AJHL games, the 6’3 190 pound Gorgi has 47 career points. He also played in and won the Telus cup back in 2012-13 with his hometown AAA Red Deer Chiefs.
The North Stars have now added three players this summer in trades that are all 6’2 or taller.
It’s a little surprising to see Saharchuk headed back to BC as he didn’t get a lot of opportunity in Vernon a couple seasons ago to show what he could do. With the North Stars this past season the forward was given top line minutes and lots of power play time. He would have been a big cog in the offense again this season. Hopefully Matty is given a chance to shine in Salmon Arm. I’m sure he’ll find himself continuing on in the game of hockey in after his junior career is done. Plus I am sure it is exciting to be playing close to home once again.
I just spoke with North Stars GM Kevin Hasselberg about the trade and he said it was a case of Saharchuk wanting to be closer to home if possible for his final junior season. The Stars are also really excited to add Gorgi who Kevin says is a great character player with size and the skill to replace Saharchuk in the lineup. Like I said, it seems like the Stars got a really nice return here for a very good player. You always hope in these cases the trade is a win-win for both organizations and for the players involved.
I also asked Kevin about the size of the players he has picked up this season. He said that getting bigger was a factor. But he also stressed that they team also wanted to make sure they were adding character and skill. He believes they have done that in the trades they have made. Coach Hasselberg also singled out the players that have committed to the team for the coming season in terms of new recruits. He’s very excited for the group of players that are coming in and for the coming season.
The North Stars look to be a young team again this season. But a very deep team with plenty of skill and size.
For more on the trade check out the North Stars website and keep up to date with the “Who’s Coming to Camp” feature. (Which I am loving and I think is a fantastic addition to the site. Well done Trent!)

North Stars make trades, add size

Yesterday the Battlefords North Stars pulled off two somewhat complicated trades to acquire some size for the up coming season.

The North Stars traded defenseman Brock Weston to the Portage Terriers of the MJHL. In exchange the Stars acquired 20 year old defenseman Jordan Wiest. Wiest spent last season playing with the Surrey Eagles and was picked up by Portage in a separate trade. Wiest comes to the Stars after playing 103 career junior games in which he has put up 4 goals. He’s described as a stay at home D-man. What the Stars must have liked in Wiest, other than the experience of a 20 year which they lost in dealing Weston, is the size. Wiest is listed at 6’3. He is also a right shot defenseman and those are always nice to have on the roster. The Stars having a big, tough, solid D-man on the ice might allow one of the younger guys like Connor Sych or a Kleiboer or Spagrud type to really open up a bit and provide a little more offense for the team this season.

I personally really like Brock and will be sad to see him gone. We spent a lot of time talking last season, especially at the gym. Brock worked incredibly hard to come back from a pretty serious knee injury. I think it was injury that really robbed him off a chance to show what he could do on the ice last season. Portage is likely in a bit of a rebuild after hosting and winning the RBC Cup last season. That will hopefully mean a lot of ice time for Brock in his final junior season.

In the other deal the Stars sent Connor Vermuelen and futures to the Whitecourt Wolverines in exchange for the rights to Carson Pickett and futures. The Stars then flipped Pickett over to the Kindersley Klippers in exchange for forward Connor Navrot. Navrot played with Beardey’s last season where he was excellent in putting up 18 goals and 41 points in 44 games. Navrot is listed at 6’2 inches tall and plays big. He featured in 13 games as an ‘AP’ with Kindersley last season as well as 8 post-season games. He faced the North Stars a few times and I am sure he impressed the Stars coaching staff with the way he plays the game.

Vermeulen had a tough first season with the Stars and if I remember correctly he may have been forced to play through and battle through some injury trouble as well last season. It’s a shame it didn’t quite work out for Connor here as I know he wanted to come to the North Stars last season and was really excited to play in this community. Hopefully he is excited about the prospect of playing in Whitecourt and will get a chance to play a lot for the Wolverines this season.

With Navrott being from Martensville Saskatchewan it is noticeable that the Stars seem to be adding even more Saskatchewan kids to the roster than years passed. With guys like Layne Young and Troy Gerein coming up from the Midget AAA Stars as well as Tanner Nagle from the Tisdale Trojans to go along with the base of Saskatchewan players that were already on the team. The previously mentioned Kleiboer and Spagrud will have a chance to make the team up from Midget AAA.

It also appears the Stars want to get bigger and these trades certainly add a lot of size to the Stars roster. Not that Brock and Connor are small players by any means but it does appear the Stars wanted to add to their bulk. They were a smaller team last season and certainly smaller than the Kindersley Klippers who knocked the Stars out of the post-season. Connor Sych, Kendall Fransoo (who plays even bigger than he is) and now Wiest is a pretty good base to start from on the back end in terms of size and toughness. And Navrot adds to the presence up front.

By trading away two D-men and getting back just one, the North Stars also opened up a spot on the roster. Some of the younger defensemen that are coming to camp will have an even better chance to make the team.

While it’s fun to dream on what the team could be moving forward, in the end it’s always tough to see guys traded that both had a positive impact on the North Stars on and off the ice. We all wish both Brock and Connor and their families all the best in the future. And thank them for their contributions to the Battlefords over the past year.