The Red Deer Rebels have added another 20-year-old forward.
Red Deer acquired Blake Stevenson, 20, from the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for two draft picks, a fourth-round selection in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft (originally belonging to Victoria) and a seventh-round selection in the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft.
The Rebels now have four 20-year-old players and are only able to carry three this season. The six-foot, 194-pound right winger joins Liam Keeler, Arshdeep Bains and Zak Smith as overage players on the 2021-22 WHL roster.
Stevenson was originally selected by the Tri-City Americans in the fourth round (68th overall) of the 2016 WHL Draft. The Calgary, Alberta native had seven goals and seven assists in 24 games with the Blades during the 2020-21 season and has 48 points in 112 career WHL games.
With two forwards away at NHL camps, Stevenson should get his first taste of game action this weekend, as the Rebels round out the preseason against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Rebels bench boss Steve Konowalchuk said Thursday ahead of the trade, he likes the depth that the group has. With Stevenson, a veteran of 112 WHL games, they get even deeper.
“I like the depth and I like depth from our defencemen, if someone is not going within a game we can move a guy up or down. Same with the forwards. That’s not going to go away when the season starts,” he said.
“Some roles will get more defined and if guys are doing their job, they will be able to keep their roles. In the same token, if guys aren’t going, we’ll find the other guys that are and give them a chance.”
The Rebels will travel to Lethbridge on Friday before hosting the Hurricanes Saturday, in the final tune-up game before the season opener on Oct. 1.
Konowalchuk added there are still some spots up for grabs and hopes everybody that plays over the weekend can find a bit more consistency.
“With everything, we’re trying to get more consistent. There’s still competition between our lineup, who is going to play where. Some guys are going to move up and some guys are going to move down, guys are still jockeying for position,” he said.
“We want to look closer to the regular season style team that we’re going to play but at the same time we want to see what some guys can do as well.”