Ultimately, there was no more room on the Red Deer Rebels roster for Lucas Grayson.
Rebels general manager/head coach Jesse Wallin pared his blueline corps to eight skaters Monday, sending the 17-year-old to the Everett Silvertips in a Western Hockey League trade that brought a fourth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft back to Red Deer.
After appearing in 40 games as a WHL rookie last season — scoring one goal and adding one assist in the process — Grayson lost his projected starting job to freshman Kayle Doetzel this fall and also found himself behind newcomers Stephen Hak and Cody Thiel on the Rebels depth chart. The Port Hardy, B.C., native appeared in just one game this season.
In fairness, Grayson, with at least some semblance of a major junior resume, also brought a greater return on the open market than either Hak or Thiel would have garnered.
“We feel that both Hak and Thiel are capable of playing at this level, so it came down to the fact that we had nine guys who we felt could play here and Grayson was the guy who had the most (trade) value being a younger player with experience in the league,” said Wallin.
“It was tough to get (Grayson) into the lineup with him being a right-handed shot to go with (Mathew) Dumba, (Justin) Weller, (Alex) Petrovic and Doetzel . . . it was tough to get him in because one of those other guys would have to flip over to the left side.
“We also feel that Kayle is ahead of him and has played very well and we want him playing as much as possible.”
Wallin is confident that Grayson, a sixth-round bantam draft pick of the Rebels in 2009 who last winter suited up with Team Pacific in the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge, can be an effective WHL defenceman.
“He’s still a young guy and he’s going to get a much better opportunity in Everett,” said Wallin. “The thing with him is he was in and out of our lineup as a 16-year-old and that’s how it was going to be here for him again this season. So this is an opportunity for him. We wanted to get him a chance to move on and play more than he would have here.”
Wallin was satisfied with the compensation he received from the Silvertips.
“We feel we got solid value in the return,” he said.
“That’s kind of the going rate for young defencemen so we feel we were compensated fairly. It’s an asset for us moving forward.”
The Rebels host the Kamloops Blazers at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
l Elsewhere on the trade front Monday, the Vancouver Giants acquired six-foot-four, 230-pound forward Austin Connor, 19, and forward prospect Arwin Atwal from the Prince Albert Raiders in return for centre Teal Burns and defenceman Tyler Hart, both 19.
Meanwhile, the Regina Pats sent 19-year-old winger Campbell Elynuk to the Prince George Cougars in return for a sixth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes and Brandon Wheat Kings were busy Sunday.
The ‘Canes dealt defenceman and Red Deer product Derek Ryckman, 19, to the Tri-City Americans for a fourth-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft, then shipped goaltender Brandon Anderson, 19, and two draft picks — to be determined — to Brandon for 18-year-old netminder Liam Liston and defenceman Spencer Galbraith, 18. The Hurricanes also picked up forward Nick Buonassis, 19, from Prince George in exchange for defenceman Reid Jackson, 18, and a fifth-round pick in 2012.
Brandon, meanwhile, acquired overage forward Darian Dziurzynski from the Saskatoon Blades in return for a second-round pick in each of the 2012 and 2013 bantam drafts and a third-rounder in 2014.