Fans of The Godfather will best appreciate what happened at Rebels headquarters today.
Regina Pats VP of Hockey Operations and Head Coach John Paddock made Brent Sutter an offer he couldn’t refuse. In the process, he pried away one of the Rebels most tantalizing prospects.
Sutter sent forward Jake Leschyshyn to the Pats on Monday in exchange for Regina’s leading scorer, 19 year old forward Connor Gay. The Rebels also get Regina’s 1st round Bantam Pick in 2016, 2nd round pick in 2015 and 7th round pick in 2017.
"It’s a hard thing to do to trade away your first round pick that you took sixth overall," Sutter admitted while speaking about the trade Monday afternoon. "It was something I was approached on by Regina [to see] if I was interested in moving a player like that. To be quite honest, I really wasn’t and yet we got into discussions and one thing led to another."
For the Rebels, anytime you can acquire another team’s scoring leader, Gay netted 44 points in 39 games with the Pats this season, it’s a good day. But, yet again, Sutter has a two-year plan in mind with this deal.
"We need to make sure that we could add to our team this year and a player that could push to maybe be one of our 20 year old guys next year, a guy that can put up numbers."
In making the deal, the Rebels regain each of the draft picks previously sent to Saskatoon when they acquired Nelson Nogier and Austin Adamson. One could say that Sutter received Nogier, Adamson and Gay in exchange for Leschyshyn. The Rebels now have an abundance of draft picks in their pocket should they decide to do more shopping in the off-season (or later this week, you never know).
Not. Too. Shabby.
Sutter says Leschyshyn also stands to benefit greatly from the deal.
"In talking with his family [and it] being hard to play here next year as a 16 year old with the depth we have down at centre ice, and being close to home, three hours away in Regina, it would be a good fit for Jake."
While it’s not easy, Sutter says it is the responsibility of the Rebels to have a team that is worthy of competing against the nation’s best when the Memorial Cup comes to Red Deer in 2016.
"When you’re gonna be the host team, you gotta make sure you have the team that gives you that opportunity not just to be the host but to be successful in your league and in the tourney as well. It’s just the way it is."
In his first move of the day, Sutter sent 19-year-old defenceman and Red Deer native Kolton Dixon to the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for 18 year old goaltender Trevor Martin.
The move is all about depth. Rylan Toth and, of late, Taz Burman have given the Rebels quality goaltending this season. Both will continue to prove they are worthy of being with the club next season. But with 16 year old Dawson Weatherill the only other goaltender of note in their system, the Rebels needed another tender in the fold in the event something happens to Toth or Burman.
Martin has been assigned to the Melville Millionaires of the SJHL where he’ll by all accounts assume a starting role. Dixon goes to the Blades where he’ll get something that simply wasn’t coming his way in his hometown, a chance to play every game.
Now, we sit back and await to see if the Rebels will be involved in anymore trades before this weekend’s deadline.