Monday, 6 November 2017

A New Wrinkle in the Skinner Saga

I thought I was done with the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. I thought after two thorough blogs about what the Lethbridge Hurricanes did during that draft, then about the blockbuster that became Corbin Boes and Stuart Skinner for Kale Clague, I thought I had it aced.

READ MORE: The Unfinished Story of Corbin Boes

But something was gnawing at me.  I kept pouring over the draft list, over and over and over again. I just couldn't place it.

READ MORE: Revisiting the 2013 Bantam Draft

Then it dawned on me.

The Brandon Wheat Kings actually had two draft picks in that first round. The first was their own, fourth overall, which they used to select star Nolan Patrick. As we've already figured out, the second pick was actually swapped with Lethbridge.

But how did the Wheat Kings get that second pick, which was originally 17th overall? You know, the one sent to Lethbridge so the Hurricanes could pick their future goal-scoring goaltender.

The answer lies in the 2013 Memorial Cup.

The Saskatoon Blades were looking to load up as they were hosting the annual tournament. On Trade Deadline Day, the Blades made a handful of deals to make sure they would be competitive. Let's just say the Blades auctioned off a lot of potential future when they made those three trades.

Let's start with the Collin Valcourt deal. The Blades acquired him from Spokane for a 5th round pick in 2013 and a 1st round pick in 2015. The 5th rounder turned into future Chiefs star and Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto, while the first rounder actually turned into the first overall pick, defenseman Ty Smith.

Then the Blades wanted Erik Benoit from Kootenay. So they sent off a 4th round pick in the '13 draft. Not a big deal, except that pick was originally acquired in a previous deal with Swift Current where the Broncos picked up Brett Lernout. Long story short: that pick turned into now two-year Ice captain Cale Fleury.

The final trade is what had the connections to the Boes/Skinner/Clague blockbuster. The Blades wanted future Calgary Flames forward Michael Ferland. All the Wheat Kings wanted was a 1st round bantam pick. It was that 17th overall selection.

So maybe this is a warning shot to the Regina Pats that loading up for a Memorial Cup run might come back to bite them, if the previous Saskatchewan example set by the Blades is still fresh in anyone's mind.

But more importantly in my mind, I can finally put to rest how exactly the Lethbridge Hurricanes wound up getting Stuart Skinner.

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