Valik Chichkin will join the Smokies tomorrow in Salmon Arm (thanks to the Rivermen and Garrett James for the photo)
A trade involving the Smoke Eaters that was finalized last night, but made public this morning. Trail has acquired hulking defenseman Valik Chichkin (94) from the Langley Rivermen in exchange for the rights to 19 year-old forward Tanner Clarkson. Chichkin, a 6-3 rearguard from Burnaby, tallied 2 points in 9 appearances with Langley this season, adding 14 points as a 17 year-old rookie last year. Clarkson last appeared in a Smoke Eaters uniform September 22nd in Vernon, and scored 1 goal in 6 games this season after 19 points in 33 games with Trail last year.
The full release from the team is here.
From the outset, this deal to me looks like a win-win for both teams. Chichkin joins a Smoke Eaters blueline in need of more size (and healthy bodies with Braeden Jones now out for several weeks). We only got to see the Rivermen once last season (a nailbiting 5-4 Langley win in the Lower Mainland in late January), but Chichkin struck me then as a guy who can have a bit of a mean streak too, which will only serve to better Trail's back end.
On the other side, Clarkson gets a fresh start with a Langley team right in the thick of a razor-tight Mainland division. Smokies fans know full well the West Kelowna kid has oodles of talent (with size and reach to boot), and he should do well with the Rivermen.
Chichkin is en route to Kelowna where he will meet the Smokies tomorrow ahead of a crucial Interior matchup in Salmon Arm. Rivermen play-caller Brandon Astle writes on his blog that Clarkson will not dress tonight as Langley visits Surrey.
All the best to Tanner as he continues his hockey journey, and welcome to Trail Valik!