The Kootenay Ice bolstered their blue line on Tuesday, but gave up a rising young prospect as Hudson Elynuik was traded to the Spokane Chiefs for defence man Tyler King.
Kootenay has suffered on the back end with the loss of Tanner Faith, who has been dealing with an upper-body injury for the majority of the season.
Hence the deal for King, who Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth describes as a solid puck-moving blueliner.
“We’re quite familiar with Tyler, we’ve seen him play in Spokane for the last three seasons and he just keeps getting better and better every time we see him play,” said Chynoweth.
“We just felt that he was a perfect fit for us.”
King, 18, was the first-round pick for the Chiefs in the 2010 WHL Bantam draft, and has spent his entire career in Spokane. He has a career total of eight goals and 19 assists in 132 games over three seasons.
“I think he’s definitely the type of asset we needed when we had to improve our D,” added Chynoweth.
The Chiefs had their eye on Elynuik, and Chynoweth said letting go of the young rookie forward was tough.
“We think Hudson has a bright future in the Western Hockey League,” said Chynoweth. “Obviously, he’s young, but when he’s 17 or 18 years old, he’s going to be a tough player to play against in this league.
“Unfortunately, that’s who they were looking for and we just felt that we could afford to move him, but we definitely needed a top-four defenceman in return.
Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz justified shipping King to the Ice by saying that Elynuik will add some youth to Spokane’s roster, while allowing younger defenceman to develop.
“The acquisition of Hudson Elyniuk strengthens our organization’s 1997-born group of forwards and gives us more size at the forward position,” Speltz said in a press release. “Hudson is a talented player with the potential to be a big, skilled forward in the WHL. We are excited about Hudson’s future in Spokane.
“The trade also allows our seventeen year old defensemen the opportunity to play more, which we expect will expedite their development.”
King is expected to be in the lineup when the team travels to Medicine Hat to face the Tigers on Thursday night. Kootenay returns to home action on Friday, hosting the Swift Current Broncos at Western Financial Place.