The Trail Smoke Eaters have been busy on the trade front, taking part in two deals today that involve a total of seven players.
First, the Smokies sent overage defenseman Rajan Sidhu to the AJHL's Drumheller Dragons for goaltender James D'Andrea. Sidhu scored his first goal of the season last night against Penticton, a well-placed wrist shot that wound up being the game-winner. In D'Andrea, Trail picks up a 19 year-old goaltender with a GAA under 4 despite the Dragons holding a 4-10-2 record so far this season.
Sidhu will do very well in Alberta I'm sure, though his departure definitely leaves a hole on both the Smokies blue line and in the dressing room. Best of luck in Drumheller Rajan, I'll be sure to follow your progress with the Dragons and at RIT next year.
To help re-stock that back end, the Smokies and Alberni Valley Bulldogs put together a five-player deal that sees 17 year-old defenseman Daniel DelBianco and 19 year-old goaltender Matt Larose head to the Island. DelBianco didn't register a point in seven games on Trail's back end (and a couple of appearances up front) while Larose put up a 9-11 record with 2 shutouts during his time with the Smoke Eaters.
In return Trail receives defensemen Tanner Hicks (92) and Marley Keca (93) along with forward Taylor House (92). Hicks, like House and D'Andrea hails from Alberta while Keca put up 12 points with the Bulldogs last season and is a former teammate of Clayton Chessa with Quesnel. House won a KIJHL title last season with the Osoyoos Coyotes, where he put up 62 points during the regular season.
Best of luck to both Daniel and Matt with their new team (if you're keeping track, Alberni Valley visits Trail February 2nd), and welcome to the Smokies James, Tanner, Marley and Taylor!
I'll post the interview I conducted with Smokies bench boss Bill Birks tomorrow morning once it's run on Mountain FM.