Rebels add another ‘high-end’ player in trade

What Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter admires most about Luke Philp is that the Canmore native does not appear to have a ‘best-before’ expiry date. “Let’s face it, he’s a high-end player. The thing you like about Luke is that every year he’s continued to get better and he’s always risen to the occasion in the playoffs,” Sutter said Sunday, a few hours after acquiring the 20-year-old forward from the Kootenay Ice.

What Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter admires most about Luke Philp is that the Canmore native does not appear to have a ‘best-before’ expiry date.

“Let’s face it, he’s a high-end player. The thing you like about Luke is that every year he’s continued to get better and he’s always risen to the occasion in the playoffs,” Sutter said Sunday, a few hours after acquiring the 20-year-old forward from the Kootenay Ice.

“He’s a playoff guy. The bigger the game, the better he plays. He’s the kind of player who can put up points but is also a 200-foot player with a great understanding of the game.”

In exchange for the Ice captain, who underwent ankle surgery in November and is slated to return to action before the end of January, Sutter relinquished overage forward Presten Kopeck, 17-year-old defenceman Ryan Pouliot, 16-year-old prospect forward Tanner Sidaway and a second- and third-round pick in this year’s WHL bantam draft.

Philp is an obvious upgrade on Kopeck, who is an excellent penalty killer but has struggled offensively this season, while Pouliot was barely utilized by the Rebels and Sidaway was considered a marginal prospect.

“At the end of the day we’re very happy with the young players we still have in our system,” said Sutter. “In regards to Pouliot, we looked at our young players and felt that (Carson) Sass, (Ethan) Sakowich, (Jacob) Herauf and possibly Jace Foskey from Dallas — if things worked out with getting him signed — are all ahead of Ryan (on the Rebels depth chart).

“And with Sidaway, we feel we have other players in the system who can play his role.”

The 2016 Memorial Cup hosts, as Sutter pointed out, still own their first-round pick in this year’s bantam draft. Red Deer is missing a second- and third-pick in the draft and have already dealt their first-round pick in 2017.

Sutter also gave up promising prospect Eli Zummack in the trade that landed overage forward Adam Helewka from Spokane, but has picked up three elite up-front skaters in the past week in Jake DeBrusk, Helewka and now Philp.

“We feel we’ve covered all of the assets and pieces we’ve dealt and the key thing is we’ve been able to keep our first-round pick in this year’s draft,” said Sutter, who stock-piled draft picks over the past two to three years, for example getting three second-rounders from Portland in exchange for Mathew Dumba in December of 2013.

Philp, a five-foot-10, 180-pound center, recorded 94 points, including 35 goals, in 78 regular-season and playoff games in the 2014-15 WHL campaign. In total, he has produced 95 goals and 140 assists for 235 points in 247 regular-season games since 2011, and 28 points (12-16) in 28 playoff contests.

“He fits right in with our top three to four forwards,” said Sutter.

Sutter said Kopeck was relatively reserved when informed of the deal.

“Kopes is the type of person who doesn’t show a lot of emotion, he kind of keeps it inside,” said Sutter. “I’m sure he’s disappointed, but it’s all going to work out for him at the end of the day.”

With the Ice in full-blown rebuild mode, there is every chance that Kopeck will be dealt to another team before or at the Jan. 10 trade deadline.

Just Posted

More than $25k raised for Red Deer firefighter who is recovering in hospital

‘I think the support he’s getting is because of the person he is’

Lacombe backs Blackfalds stormwater plan

Stormwater management plan will open up more land for development in Blackfalds

Two men facing charges in alleged abduction

RCMP issued alert for woman on Wednesday morning who was found safe later that day

Red Deer RCMP seek public assistance to identify suspect in indecent acts

Red Deer RCMP are looking for a man believed to be responsible… Continue reading

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl has overtime winner as Edmonton Oilers down Boston Bruins 3-2

EDMONTON — Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for the overtime winner… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

New vacuum needed: Calgary family adopts three bonded St. Bernard buddies

EDMONTON — Three adult St. Bernards who couldn’t be separated because they’re… Continue reading

Film with Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis cancelled after tax case

BEIJING — The director of “Air Strike,” featuring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing,… Continue reading

Michael Buble shuts down rumours of retirement from music

LOS ANGELES — Michael Buble is shutting down rumours that he’s going… Continue reading

After Canada legalizes pot, industry eyes rest of the world

MONTREAL — Cam Battley is a top executive at one of Canada’s… Continue reading

Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

MENLO PARK, Calif. — In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook’s expansive… Continue reading

Military to overhaul morale-boosting trips after review finds serious problems

OTTAWA — Canada’s top general is overhauling military morale-boosting tours after an… Continue reading

Most Read