The Red Deer Rebels completed a two-for-one deal with the Regina Pats Wednesday, with Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter hopeful that the ‘one’ player will be an impact forward with his club.
Sutter sent winger Filip Vasko, 19, and 18-year-old centre Marc McCoy to the Pats in return for 18-year-old Dominik Volek, who this season was playing with a Swedish junior elite team in Farjestad and also suited up briefly with a First Division pro club. The Pats also got a conditional pick in the 2015 WHL bantam draft.
Volek played with the Pats last season, scoring 14 goals and registering 32 points in 70 games. He decided not to return to Regina and instead signed with Farjestad during the summer.
“He’s supposed to be a top-end player and he’s a kid who as a 17-year-old scored at this level,” said Sutter.
“In talking to some of the kids who have played with and against him, they say he has top-end skill and speed . . . that he’s a really good player.”
Sutter received those opinions from Rebels defenceman Brandon Underwood, a teammate of Volek’s in Regina last winter, and Mathew Dumba, who played against Volek and Team Czech Republic in the World Under-18 Championship. Rebels netminder Patrik Bartosak, prior to leaving for the Czech Republic this week to prepare for the upcoming World Junior Championship, also spoke highly of his fellow countryman.
Sutter hasn’t seen Volek play live, but has watched him on videotape and is impressed with his talent.
The Rebels bench boss played with Volek’s father, David, with the New York Islanders from 1988 to partway through the ‘91-92 season. That association undoubtedly played a role in Volek deciding to return to the Western Hockey League, although Sutter downplayed the angle.
“We didn’t make the trade for him because I know the family, although it’s nice to have an idea of what the kid is about and to know what the family is about,” he said. “(David) has talked to me about Dominik as a player in the past.”
Sutter is confident Volek will fit nicely into the concept and style of play the Rebels have adopted moving forward.
“We want to play a high-paced, up-tempo game and adding a player like that is huge,” said Sutter.
Volek will be in Red Deer for a Boxing Day practice and will be in the Rebels lineup for a Dec. 27 meeting with the Oil Kings in Edmonton.
Sutter said Vasko and McCoy didn’t show much in the way of emotions when informed of the trade. Ultimately, the deal should benefit both players in terms of their development.
“Obviously they both want to play and as I explained to them, once we get everybody back and have a healthy lineup, it’s going to be hard for me to get either one of them into a top-nine forward position,” said Sutter.
“Both of them want that, they’re 18 and 19 years of age. They’ll get an opportunity to play in Regina. They (Pats) have a lot of injuries right now so they’ll certainly get that opportunity.”
Vasko, acquired from the Kelowna Rockets two weeks ago, is fleet of foot but hasn’t produced offensively in a season and a half of WHL duty. He failed to score a single goal and had 14 assists in 51 games with the Rockets last winter and has four goals and 11 points in 23 games this season, including a goal in four games with Red Deer.
McCoy was a fifth-round pick of the Rebels in the 2009 bantam draft. At six-foot-two, 195 pounds, the Edmonton native can play a physical style but has recorded just six goals and 16 points in 91 games since joining the Rebels last season.