Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Trading for Lyon
The Kelowna Rockets were looking at upgrading the talent among their three overage players at the Western Hockey League trading deadline. Unfortunately for veteran defenceman Kevin Smith, the North Vancouver resident was the odd man out.
Adam Brown and Cody Chikie dodged the bullet while Smith was given his out-right release after the Rockets acquired forward Brett Lyon from the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The 20 year-old Lyon came at a low price, with the Rockets surrendering a 5th and 7th round bantam pick. Lyon provides the team with more depth up front, a bigger body and some scoring punch. Lyon has 11 goals this season and an impressive 28 points in his final season in the WHL. The Grand Forks, BC resident won't wow you with his play making ability, but he adds some maturity to the forward ranks which consists now of just two 20 year-old's (Lyon and Chikie) and 19 year-old Brett Bulmer and injured Spencer Main.
The departure of Smith makes a very young defensive core even younger, with 19 year-old Mitchell Chapman surrounded by 18 year-old's MacKenzie Johnston and Myles Bell, 17 year-old's Damon Severson and Cole Martin and 16 year-old's Jesse Lees and Madison Bowey.
The blue line has suffered more than it's fair share of growing pains this season with Smith in the line up, so that won't change with 30 games left in the regular season.
While Smith was the only player shown the exit, many fans are wondering why Brett Bulmer didn't yield a healthy return for a team in 6th place in the Western Conference.
The interest, I'm told, was there for Bulmer. Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton told me no less than four teams made solid pitches for the 19 year-old, but draft picks alone were not of interest to management. Hamilton wanted a proven player, someone likely in the 18 year-old age group that would complement fellow 18 year-old forwards Zach Franko, Shane McColgan and Colton Sissons. In these times where drafting players at 15 is at best, a crap shoot, the high picks were likely offered, but that proven player wasn't on the table to entice Hamilton to pull the trigger.