The Kootenay Ice traded with the Vancouver Giants on Thursday, adding forward Austin Vetterl to the roster while dealing away prospects Kyle Krabben and Doug Morris.
Kootenay Ice general manager pulled the trigger on the deal, which adds 18-year-old Vetterl to the forward ranks, who is playing in his second year in the WHL.
The Ice are considerably younger this year and the departure of team captain Drew Czerwonka and injuries to forwards Collin Shirley (upper-body) and Luke Philp (appendix removal) forced Chynoweth’s hand.
“Austin will bring much needed experience to a roster that is currently the youngest in the WHL,” Chynoweth said. “We are hoping for him to play significant minutes in all key situations.”
In 60 games last year, Vetterl posted seven goals and 10 assists, along with 27 minutes in penalties.
It’s the second trade in as many days from the Giants, who earlier dealt David Musil, their No.1 defenceman and Edmonton Oilers prospect to the Edmonton Oil Kings for Mason Geersten and a first-round pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.
Vetterl was on the road with the Vancouver Giants, which are currently swinging through the Central Division, when head coach Don Hay informed him of the trade.
Ice assistant coach Chad Kletzel went and picked up the new acquisition in Lethbridge, and made it for practice on Thursday. He will likely get into the lineup for this weekend’s triple-header in a home set with the Blades and Giants, along with a quick road jaunt to Medicine Hat on Sunday.
“I’m a two-way time centreman,” said Vetterl, of what he brings to the team. “I want to win my draws, I’m going to check against top guys, I can skate and am able to make a play or two every now and then.”
Chynoweth had been in contact with Scott Bonner, the general manager for the Giants, and the two talked about a few players on the Giants roster, before agreeing on Vetterl.
“Austin is a good kid,” stated Bonner, in a press release. “We felt that he deserved an opportunity to be an everyday player and Kootenay seemed like a good fit.”
The Surrey, B.C. native had previously earned the attention of Kootenay scouts, and head scout Garnet Kazuik gave the scoop to the Ice GM before the deal was made.
“From what I’ve been told, he’s a good two-way player, he can play in all three zones of the ice, he’s a very good penalty killer,” said Chynoweth. “He can play right side and centre and he’s good on the draws.”
The Ice surrendered Krabben, a defenceman taken 125th overall in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft along with Morris, a listed but undrafted player out of Alberta.Both were released from the Ice after a few exhibition games in September.
“From our end, we don’t like giving up some of our top prospects,” said Chynoweth, “but at the same time, we’re very deep in that 1995-born age group already with eight guys on our roster and with a lot of 1996 and 1997s coming up the pipe, we felt that we could afford to give up two for a player who’s played for a year in the Western Hockey League.”
ICE NOTES: Kootenay spent a good deal of Thursday’s practice working on special teams, as the club ranks 20th overall on the man-advantage, at 16.1 per cent. The Ice sit in the same spot on the penalty kill, which is ranked at 69.8 per cent. Jeff Hubic was skating in a yellow jersey, which usually indicates no body contact. Luke Philp had his appendix removed a few days ago, and the rookie will be out of the lineup for at least a month. Hudson Elynuik and Troy Murray—two Ice prospects taken in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft—are currently in Calgary competing in the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup.