Brandon, MB. – The Western Hockey League’s Trade Deadline has come and gone and the Brandon Wheat Kings were busy making two significant moves.
The Wheat Kings dealt all star defenceman Kale Clague to the Moose Jaw Warriors and captain Tanner Kaspick to the Victoria Royals for a parcel of players, prospects and draft picks.
A second round draft choice of the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings, Clague recently helped Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo.
In return for the 19-year old Lloydminster, Alberta product, the Wheat Kings get 18-year old defenceman Chase Hartje, 17-year old forward Luka Burzan as well as three high bantam draft picks – first round picks in both 2019 and 2021 as well as a second round selection in 2018.
Moose Jaw’s first round selection (6th overall) in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, Burzan has six goals and 19 points in 42 games this season. As a 16-year old rookie last winter, the Surrey, B.C. product scored fourteen goals and 27 points in 66 games.
A 5’11” 185 lb native of Bemidji, Minnesota, Hartje joined the Warriors this season after averaging a point per game with Bemidji High School during the 2016-17 campaign.
In 28 games with the Wheat Kings this season, Clague has ten goals and 47 points and during his three years in Brandon, he scored 25 goals and 143 points in 169 games.
In exchange for Kaspick, the Wheat Kings acquired two first round selections (in 2019 and 2021) as well as two highly touted prospects in 16-year old defenceman Jonathan Lambos of Winnipeg and 15-year old Brandon forward Ty Thorpe.
A Brandon product, who has spent the past two seasons playing for Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg, the 5’10” 155 lb Thorpe was Victoria’s third round selection (54th overall) in the 2017 bantam draft.
Like Thorpe, the 5’10” 170 lb. Lambos was a third round bantam pick of the Royals (49th overall in 2016) and is currently skating with RHA in Winnipeg, after spending the 2016-17 campaign with the Omaha Lancers U16.
In 21 games this season, Lambos has two goals and 14 points while Thorpe has seven goals and 15 points in eighteen games.
In addition to Kaspick, who scored 132 points, including 46 goals in 191 career WHL games with the Wheat Kings, the Royals get the playing rights to Cameron MacDonald, who was Brandon’s fifth round selection in last spring’s bantam draft.
“This was a difficult decision,” says Brandon general manager Grant Armstrong. “While we explored a number of opportunities in an effort to improve this year’s team, the prices were far too high. We had to look at it as what is best for our team…what’s best for today, what’s best for tomorrow.”
“These moves today give us a chance to stay along the plan that has been put in place, that we’ve consistently stuck with and continue to do so,” he added. “Losing two players of this caliber is difficult, but the return made it impossible to turn down.”
Both Kaspick and Clague were members of the 2016 WHL Championship Wheat Kings.
“I want to thank both Kale and Tanner for their outstanding contributions to the organization,” says Armstrong. “Both are exceptional young men and we wish them the very best with their new teams.”