The WHL’s Winnipeg Ice are on the move again after spending just four years in the city, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Friday. After moving from Cranbrook in the Kootenay region of British Columbia in 2019, a condition of the sale to new owners in Winnipeg was a new facility for the team. The condition was never met, and now the team has been sold to former 2017 BCHL executive of the year David White, who will move them to Wenatchee, Washington, a town with a population of about 35,000 people in the center of the state. For now, it seems the new Wenatchee WHL squad will share the ice with White’s BCHL team, the Wenatchee Wild, at the Town Toyota Center with a capacity of 4,300 people.
Winnipeg lost in this year’s WHL championship series and boasts an eye-popping record of 110-20-6 over the past two seasons combined. The franchise’s debut season in Wenatchee could include Buffalo Sabres prospect Matthew Savoie and Arizona Coyotes prospect Conor Geekie, both first-round picks in the 2022 NHL Draft.
Other notes from around the hockey world today:
- On today’s episode of Sportsnet’s 32 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman dumped some cold water on the rumors of a Kevin Hayes trade between the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets. After the two teams were involved in a three-way deal that saw Ivan Provorov head from the Flyers to the Jackets, reports said the move didn’t eliminate the possibility of the long-rumored Hayes deal coming to fruition. However, the Blue Jackets now have under $6MM in projected cap space for 2023-24 (CapFriendly) after getting defender Damon Severson from the New Jersey Devils in a sign-and-trade, which would force the Flyers to retain a high amount of Hayes’ $7.14MM cap hit through 2025-26. While Columbus remains in desperate need of centers, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen now has seven defensemen on the roster that cost more than $2MM against the cap, including a combined $6.75MM wrapped up in Erik Gudbranson and Andrew Peeke, who both had very disappointing campaigns last season.
- Another name mentioned by Friedman was that of New Jersey Devils forward Yegor Sharangovich, who Friedman believes could hit the trade market this offseason. The 25-year-old Belarusian is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights after completing a two-year, $4MM contract signed in August of 2021 and has registered at least 30 points in all three of his NHL campaigns. He is a decent depth scorer, but he’s not of much value defensively and posted the lowest point-per-game output of his NHL career (0.40) last season. He was a healthy scratch for most of New Jersey’s playoff run, appearing in three out of 12 games.