The Red Deer Rebels have had a busy summer in the Western Hockey League trade market.
Monday, Red Deer made its biggest splash yet.
The Rebels sent defenceman Kyle Masters and a conditional first-round pick in the 2025 WHL Prospects Draft to the Kamloops Blazers for 2004-born defenceman Mats Lindgren. The condition of the pick is if the Rebels are part of the draft lottery in 2025, the pick will move to the 2026 WHL Prospects Draft.
The 18-year-old left-shoot defenceman had six goals and 48 assists for 54 points with the Blazers in 94 career regular season games. He contributed 54 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating while on the ice. In 2019, he was selected seventh overall in the WHL Prospects Draft and three years later was picked by the Buffalo Sabres 107th overall in the fourth round of the 2022 NHL Draft.
Red Deer Rebels owner, president, and general manager Brent Sutter said they traded for a good player in Lindgren who can generate offence despite having to send Masters in return.
“We were looking for someone that can help out on our powerplay. We want to be a team that can generate more offence from the back end and if you look at the points this kid has got and got last year as a 17-year-old in our league we feel he can bring that to us,” Sutter said.
It was important that the trade at the end of the day benefited both teams and more for the players. He added hopefully a change for both defencemen will serve them well in their development.
“[Lindgren’s] a kid that skates extremely well, handles pucks well, and he makes plays. He’s an intelligent hockey player and to get a player like that you got to trade something and this is a chance for Kyle [Masters] to go to prove what he can do in this league,” Sutter said.
The franchise will also begin its week-long training camp Thursday when the veteran players report for their medical examinations and off-ice testing.
Those players will then begin on-ice testing on Friday at the Peavey Mart Centrium before the rookies arrive later that day. The youngsters will then begin on-ice training on Saturday. All the scrimmages and practices will be open to the public.
“I’m excited you know we’ve added some pieces to our team here this summer with the [Tanner] Brown trade and obviously with the [Craig] Armstrong trade and now this trade that brought a little bit different element to our team, some guys that have some experience,” Sutter said.
“Now getting into camp it will sort itself all out who fits in and who doesn’t. That’s what training camp’s for that’s what exhibition season’s for but from a coaching and management perspective you know I talked with the coaches and they’re excited about the group and we’ll just see where it goes.”
This year Sutter said they will be a younger team up front, which was why it was important to add Armstrong and a pair of offensively gifted defencemen.
He said there are always plenty of spots to be earned during training camp. He added they have a “pretty good group” of nine or 10 defencemen they will need to sort through during the next week and they are still unsure of whether Christopher Sedoff will be back this year. They also have decisions to make with their 20-year-old players before the deadline as each team is allowed three 20-year-old players.
“That’s what competition is great for and that’s why we brought the players in that we did to add more competition to the group. And allow us to grow as a team as far as the elements the way the coaches want our team to play in so we’ll just see what happens.”