The La Ronge Ice Wolves and Melville Millionaires have hooked up on a blockbuster 2-for-2 trade.
Moving to the Millionaires are 1999 F Zach Bannister (Grande Prairie AB) and 2000 D Dylan Thackeray (White City SK), while the Ice Wolves receive 2000 D James Philpott (Calgary AB) and 1999 F Booker Chacalias (Calgary AB).
Bannister is the biggest name in the deal as he is coming off a year in which he scored 28-goals and 42-assists in 56-games. An early favorite to challenge for the league scoring title, Bannister has 6-goals and 9-assists in 20-games while the Ice Wolves have relied on Daylon Mannon and Kyle Ford for a large chunk of their offense. Having said that, Bannister has 5-points in his last 5-games and should rocket to the top line of the Millionaires.
Thackeray is an under-appreciated two-way defenseman who scored 4-goals and 13-assists in 51-games as a rookie and was off to a good start in year two with 2-goals and 4-assists in 12-games played. He should bring instant stability to the back end with his attention to small details.
The price for Bannister and Thackeray is steep. In the 19-year-old Philpott, La Ronge receives one of the better puck moving defensemen in the league and he still has a year of junior eligibility remaining. He has 1-goal and 12-assists in 17-games overall. Philpott had 1-goal and 6-assists in 23-games last year after being acquired midseason. He should anchor and boost a powerplay that is ranked 11th in the league.
Chacalias should step in and fill the role Bannister was in this season. He terrorized goalies in the VIJHL with 34-goals and 35-assists in 44-games last year and got off to a hot start with 6-points in his first 4-games with the Mils. At the time of the trade to the Ice Wolves, he has 5-goals and 6-assists in 17-games.
Ic e Wolves head coach Kevin Kaminski says, “I felt we were underachieving and needed to do something. Banny needed a change and Melville wanted him, we wanted a left hand defenseman in return, so there was a good fit. Philpott brings us size, speed, skill, and hockey sense. We feel we added good second dary scoring in Booker, who’s also a left hand shot. He has a good touch around the net and can make those little plays.”