The Red Deer Rebels accommodated veteran winger Cass Mappin’s request for a trade on Tuesday, but only time will tell if they received equal value.
The Rebels sent Mappin to the Vancouver Giants in return for Slovakian winger Andrej Kudrna, who will celebrate his 18th birthday on Nov. 5 and posted decent numbers last season with 18 goals and 38 points in 67 games, but was pointless in five games with the Giants this fall.
Mappin, who turns 19 in December, scored 17 goals and added 22 assists for 39 points in 56 games last winter, and had two goals and two assists in four games with the Rebels this season before picking up an assist in his first game with the Giants on Tuesday — a 5-1 over visiting Lethbridge.
While it appears that the deal may favour the Giants, Rebels vice-president of hockey operations/head coach Jesse Wallin is satisfied that his club secured a top-notch player in return for the Big Valley native, Red Deer’s first pick in the 2005 Western Hockey League bantam draft.
“The (possibility of a trade) had been going on for a while with a few teams involved,” said Wallin, while aboard the Rebels bus en route to Moose Jaw and the opener of a four-game Eastern Conference swing tonight against the Warriors.
“We needed a top-six (forward) back and we feel Andrej fits that role. He put up good numbers last year as a 17-year-old and I think he’s a guy who will complement our centres well. He’s a skilled guy with really good hands and he’ll play with either (Landon) Ferraro or (Ryan) Nugent-Hopkins and add to our skill level.”
Wallin admitted that Mappin was in favour of moving to another team.
“I think for Cass, he was feeling the pressure of playing so close to home and was wanting a change of scenery that way,” said the Rebels coach. “I think there were a number of issues that he had to get out from underneath of him.”
The Rebels lose a power forward in Mappin, who makes life difficult for opposing defencemen with his six-foot-one, 185-pound frame. But Kudrna brings even more size at six-foot-two and 195 pounds.
To make room for Kudrna, the Rebels, who already have Swedish forward John Persson playing a regular shift, released Jindrich Barak. The Czech defenceman was selected in the second round of this year’s CHL import draft, with Persson taken in the first round.
“He (Barak) was OK, but he wasn’t what we were expecting to be getting (in the import draft),” said Wallin, who was led to believe that Barak was bigger than his actual size of five-foot-10 and 185 pounds. “He’s currently being waived through the league and so far no team has shown any interest.”
l The Rebels left two players at home, with defenceman Alex Petrovic out for at least a month with a high ankle sprain and forward Connor Redmond nursing a shoulder injury suffered in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Hitmen in Calgary. Redmond will see a specialist next week.
Red Deer is in Brandon on Friday to face the Wheat Kings, then takes on the Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos on Saturday and Sunday. The Rebels’ next home game is Oct. 9 versus the Saskatoon Blades.