At 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night, the Kootenay Ice announced that they had traded a seventh-round pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft to the Tri-City Americans in exchange for 19-year-old defenceman Kurtis Rutledge.
“With the long-term injury to Nikita Radzivilyuk we are down to six healthy defensemen and needed to add a body to our roster,” said Ice General Manager Jeff Chynoweth in a team release on Sunday morning. “[Rutledge] has experience in the league and will provide much-needed depth to our blueline.”
Rutledge was selected by the Tri-City Americans in the eighth round, 163rd overall, in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft. In 84 career WHL games, all with the Americans, Rutledge has scored 11 points (3-8-11) and accumulated 38 penalty minutes.
A Calgary-native, Rutledge arrived yesterday afternoon and is expected to make his Ice debut tonight in what coach Luke Pierce called a “trial by fire”.
“It’s exciting to have some new blood,” Pierce said. “I think he’s energized and excited to be here and get an opportunity to play maybe some more minutes than he was.”
It’s been a bit of rough season for Rutledge so far this year.
“I cracked my rib [early in the year] but then after that I got some points, and got back into [the groove,” he said.
Rutledge wasn’t surprised to be traded and is happy to be in Cranbrook.
“I’m excited to be back where it’s cold and where the snow is,” he said. “I kind of missed it and I’m just super excited [to be here].”
While Tri-City rarely faces the Ice, Rutledge says that he know the team “works hard” and is happy to join Jake Elmer, who is a friend that he trains with during the off-season.
The Ice are now carrying 24 players (two goaltenders, eight defensemen, and 14 forwards).