Red Deer Rebels forward Ben King had a massive season last year and should be a leader for the team when he returns to the lineup later this week. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)

Red Deer Rebels forward Ben King had a massive season last year and should be a leader for the team when he returns to the lineup later this week. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)

Return of the King: Rebels complete a trio of trades

They have been hot to start the season

The Red Deer Rebels were busy dealing more than just Thanksgiving leftovers on the weekend.

Following the return of forward Ben King, 20, from Anaheim Ducks training camp, Red Deer announced a flurry of trades on Tuesday.

With King’s return, in order to get down to the Western Hockey League minimum of three 20-year-old players, Red Deer traded defenceman Tanner Brown to the Regina Pats for a fifth-round selection in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft and a fourth-round selection in the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft.

Rebels owner, president, and general manager Brent Sutter said King returning to the squad is a nice boost for an already undefeated team.

“Anytime you can add a player that’s a 50-goal guy and a 100-point guy in our league is a significant boost to your hockey team,” he said.

After the unexpected return of Finnish defenceman Christoffer Sedoff, Sutter felt they had enough depth on the blueline to move Brown. Up front, Jace Isley, the other 20-year-old in the mix, was simply playing too well to trade.

“Brownie was really good here but you just have to do something and you have to make a decision,” he said.

“When you have the depth back there you can do it… being able to make that other trade happen certainly helped out in that. We have players on that back end that can fill those holes… This should help all those other players like Weir, Mayo, and Fabrizi… These kids are all going to be players here next year for us [and] all get to play those minutes now.”

The Rebels also added depth on the blueline picking up 19-year-old defenceman Tayem Gislason and a fifth-round pick in the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft from the Prince Albert Raiders.

In return, the Rebels sent forward Carter Anderson, who has had a hot start this season with three goals in five games.

Gislason played 93 games for the Raiders where he contributed three goals and 12 assists for 15 points.

Sutter described Gislason as a stay-at-home defenceman who moves the puck and skates well. The left-shooting defenceman also sports a big frame standing at 6’2” and approximately 219 pounds.

“This summer he had surgery that he had to miss most of the summer doing rehab and getting ready for the season… We think he’s going to fit in really well here with our defence,” Sutter said.

“We got a really deep defence – you know you look at it we got eight guys here who can play in this league and they’re all good.

“We’re excited about having all of them so our team is certainly a different-looking team this year than it was at this point last year but I mean a lot of work has been put into building this team to where it’s at.”

Anderson, who had three goals in five games, had been on the third and fourth line this season and Sutter said he wanted a bigger role.

He wanted to be in a position to be an impact player and with the forward depth, Sutter said it put Anderson in a tough spot. Sutter added he wanted to do the right thing and put Anderson in a position to succeed somewhere else.

Red Deer also acquired 18-year-old forward Dwayne Jean Jr. from the Tri-City Americans for a fourth-round pick in the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft.

The Edmonton native played 58 games with the Americans and contributed five goals and nine assists.

Sutter said Jean Jr. is a player the scouting staff has had an eye on for a while since was a listed player in 2020. He is a quick skater with good skills. Although he hasn’t put up big numbers statistically yet, Sutter said he will get the opportunity to do that here.

“He’s a very competitive kid… We’re excited to bring these kids here I mean you look at our team just not this year and you look at where we can be at next year again too with the turnover and carryover. It’s something we can look at our team and say we can be very competitive,” he added.

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