Looking ahead just a few months, Brent Sutter didn’t see a role for Joel Hamilton.
As a result, the Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach dealt the five-foot-nine, 160-pound forward to the Vancouver Giants Wednesday in return for a third-round pick in the 2014 WHL bantam draft.
Hamilton, a Cochrane native who turns 19 in September, played the last two seasons with the Rebels, scoring 14 goals and 43 assists for 57 points in 114 games. He was moved from centre to wing for part of last season.
There was simply no room for Hamilton as a down-the-middle skater next season, Sutter noted, not with the presence of Brooks Maxwell, Conner Bleackley and Adam Musil — who will join the club as a 16-year-old next season — and the emergence of Wyatt Johnson as a centre.
“We were going to be in a situation where we had a 19-year-old player who come October probably wouldn’t have been a happy player with the depth we have down the middle,” said Sutter, who could also use Christian Stockl at centre in 2013-14 and will likely have this year’s first-round bantam draft pick — Red Deer product and centre Jeff de Wit — next season.
“Looking ahead, we have an abundance of centre icemen, maybe even Brayden Burke a year from now,” said Sutter. “Overall, we have some real good young players we have to make room for. After seeing Bleackley and Johnson develop last season and seeing Musil come in and play like he did (during a handful of regular-season and playoff games) . . . they are all big guys and that’s what we want — a bigger team down the middle.
“We want to continue to take strides and continue to build the team the way we want in regards to an identity and how we want to play.”
Sutter discussed the situation with Hamilton, who in turn had no objections to a trade.
“I had an opportunity to trade him to a team that doesn’t have many centres. He can go in there and be one of their guys in the middle,” said Sutter.
l The Rebels spring prospects camp will be held May 31 to June 2 at the Penhold Regional Multiplex. Sutter will bring in 33 non-roster players in the ‘96 to ‘98 (born) age group for the three day camp.
l The Regina Pats have promoted Malcolm Cameron from assistant to head coach after former bench boss Pat Conacher resigned Wednesday.