Gritty winger impresses

In a perfect world, a hockey trade pays dividends for all parties involved.

Andrej Kudrna

In a perfect world, a hockey trade pays dividends for all parties involved.

But even in the real world, a transaction will often pay off for more than one side. Take for example last week’s deal between the Red Deer Rebels and Vancouver Giants, in which power forward Cass Mappin moved west and slick Slovakian winger Andrej Kudrna headed east.

“That’s the goal at the end of the day, that it can work out for both sides and both teams can address a certain area,” Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin said on Tuesday. “It was important for us that we get a guy back that was going to help us now, and I think we did that.”

Indeed, after being held pointless but still turning in a solid effort in his first game with the Rebels — a 4-1 loss at Moose Jaw last Wednesday — Kudrna assisted on two goals in a 6-3 win at Brandon and fired three power-play markers in a 7-3 loss at Regina. He was without a point in a trip-ending 4-2 setback at Swift Current, but continued to impress Wallin, nonetheless.

“He’s fit in very well. He’s a big guy and he’s what we wanted, a left winger with some size to play with (currently injured Landon) Ferraro,” said Wallin. “He’s not an elite skater, a speedster, but he gets there. I really like the grit he has to his game. He’s not afraid to battle. He finishes his checks and gets to the dirty areas and is wiling to compete for the puck. He’s got great hands, he has a knack around the net and he plays with his head up.”

In his second Western Hockey League season after scoring 18 goals and collecting 38 points in 67 games with the Giants last winter, Kudrna, 18, is feeling right at home with his new club.

“I am enjoying my time here. I feel pretty good,” he said.

The fact he joined the Rebels during a road trip helped the six-foot-two, 193-pound winger become familiar with his new teammates.

“I got to know everyone on the team. We are close to each other, so it is good,” said Kudrna, who enjoyed a prosperous trip from a personal standpoint, but was disappointed with the club’s lack of success.

“I’m pretty happy it was a good start for me, but I’m not happy because we lost three games,” he said. “I hope that I am going to help the team to win.”

Kudrna was held pointless through five games before being dealt to Red Deer, but has excelled offensively with the change of address.

“(The trade) was OK, it seems like a good move because I get to play more. I get more ice time so (the trade) was good,” said Kudrna. “Maybe I didn’t play as much (in Vancouver), but I was probably good enough to get some points. But I had to keep getting better.”

While the Rebels are 1-3 with Kudrna in the lineup, he sees some definite potential for future success.

“I think this is a good team, we just have to play as hard as we can every night and I think we will get on a winning streak,” he said.

•l Rebels centre Landon Ferraro, a projected 40-goal scorer this season, had his knee inspected a second time on Monday and, again, no structural damage was found.

Ferraro hurt the knee during a 7-1 win over the visiting Kootenay Ice on Sept. 19 and was pulled from last Wednesday’s game at Moose Jaw when he was unable to perform at a top level due to the lingering cartilage injury.

He’s not participating in practice sessions this week and is listed as doubtful for a pair of weekend home games — Friday versus the Saskatoon Blades and Sunday (6 p.m.) against the Brandon Wheat Kings.

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