The Kootenay Ice have traded defenceman Tanner Faith (1995) to the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft.
The conditional fifth-round pick becomes a fourth-round selection in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft if the 6-foot-4, 218-pound Faith remains on the roster of the Moose Jaw Warriors or any other WHL club as of the Feb. 10 roster deadline.
The trade was announced Wednesday morning.
“We knew coming in, with seven returning 20-year-olds, that there were going to be some difficult decisions,” said Jeff Chynoweth, president and general manager of the Kootenay Ice. “Tanner is a home-grown player — drafted originally by our hockey club — and unfortunately his career was derailed a little bit by shoulder injuries.
“But I think there’s a huge upside. Obviously, the Minnesota Wild thought the same thing or they wouldn’t have drafted him as they did.
“From our end, this was an opportunity to guarantee [Faith] a spot to play in the Western Hockey League. I don’t think we can say that with all the 1995s that are going to be available in the league come the 20-year-old deadline.”
WHL clubs are only permitted to carry three 20-year-old players beyond Oct. 16.
With the deletion of Faith from the roster, the Ice have six 1995-born players remaining, though two are injured and unavailable heading into Friday’s season opener against the Calgary Hitmen.
Defenceman Tanner Lishchynsky is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury suffered during pre-season play, while defenceman Tyler King is on the long-term injury list following off-season knee surgery. He isn’t expected to suit up again until late November or early December.
Though he was able to find a return on Faith, Chynoweth said he doesn’t believe the market for 20-year-old players is opening up at all.
“I have not had a lot of discussion with many teams about our 20-year-olds,” Chynoweth said. “I think that’s twofold. A lot of them have been at NHL training camps and they’re not back yet. Secondly, [clubs] are trying to figure out where they’re at with their own team.”
Faith, a fifth-round pick (139th overall) of the Minnesota Wild at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, skated in 89 games registering 15 points and 75 minutes in penalties with the Ice from 2010-11 through 2014-15.
Faith attended training camp with the Wild this season, before being assigned to the WHL Sept. 21.
Over the past two seasons, shoulder injuries limited the rugged blueliner to 10 games and 19 games, respectively.
A native of Wilcox, Sask., the Ice selected Faith in the second round (33rd overall) at the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.
Following the transaction, the Ice roster is reduced to 27 (three goaltenders, 10 defencemen, 14 forwards).
The Ice open the WHL’s 50th season Friday night (7 p.m.) when the Calgary Hitmen visit Western Financial Place in Cranbrook.
New this season! Stay in your seats following all Kootenay Ice home games at Western Financial Place to hear the Three Stars of the Game as selected by the Cranbrook Daily Townsman!