The Red Deer Rebels used depth on defence to bolster their forward group on Wednesday.
Red Deer traded 19-year-old defenceman Jared Freadrich to the Victoria Royals in exchange for veteran forward Jared Dmytriw.
“We have nine defenceman that are all capable of playing,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “We have some of these 17-year-old players that need ice time and need to play. It allowed us to present a player like Jared (Freadrich) in a trade like this.”
He said it is not easy trading a guy that played well for the Rebels last year.
Freadrich had 30 points in 64 games for the Rebels last year, and added five more in seven games during the playoffs.
Alexander Alexeyev, Brandon Schuldhaus, Carson Sass and Ethan Sakowich will likely be Red Deer’s top four defenceman when the puck drops on the WHL season on Sept. 23 in Red Deer.
With the emergence of Herauf and Barteaux last year, along with the steady improvement of Donohoe and Pouliot during camp, Sutter said he saw the trade as an opportunity to give those players more ice time and get better on forward.
“(Dmytriw)’s as fast as anyone in the league,” Sutter said. “We wanted to add some speed up front, some character, some grit and some skill. It helps us fill a hole that we felt we needed to fill up front.”
Dmytriw is a 19-year-old centre who has played 179 WHL regular season games with the Royals, and put up 29 goals and 21 assists for 50 career points. He’s also played in 26 WHL playoff games.
Sutter said that big game experience will help guide a young crop of Rebels’ forwards. Dmytriw was drafted by the Royals in the fourth round of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.
“We’re trying to work in some of our younger players but at the same time you don’t want to put them in situations to fail,” he said. “You’re making sure you surround them with the right type of players. We think at this time he can be a top six player for us.”
He added that Dmytriw will likely fit in with Mason McCarty and Grayson Pawlenchuk on the second line when the season gets underway, making the team a solid four line group to start the campaign.
“If you have two wingers like Pawlenchuk and McCarty that are very quick guys, you want to have someone that can keep the pace. We think were going to be four lines deep this year now,” said Sutter.
The Rebels are off to Tri-City this weekend for two exhibition games.