Hurricanes acquire Gilchrist from Thunderbirds

The Lethbridge Hurricanes and Seattle Thunderbirds took care of their respective goaltending situations Tuesday morning.

First, the Thunderbirds confirmed 16-year-old Carl Stankowski will start the season with the club after trading 18-year-old goaltender Ryan Gilchrist to the Hurricanes in exchange for a conditional seventh round pick at the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft.

“Ryan had a good camp this year but with the play of Carl Stankowski and the addition of Rylan Toth, we wanted to give him a chance to play in the league,” said Russ Farwell, general manager of the Thunderbirds, in a team release. “We wish him good luck as he moves on to Lethbridge.”

Stankowski’s young star shone brightly during pre-season action as he led all WHL goaltenders with four wins while compiling a 1.54 goals-against average (GAA) and .945 save percentage (SP). He is set to backup 20-year-old starter Rylan Toth, who was recently acquired from the Red Deer Rebels.

With Gilchrist in the fold, the Hurricanes released 19-year-old goaltender Brandon Kegler, moving forward with the freshly-acquired product of McLaughlin, Alta., and stalwart 17-year-old Stuart Skinner.

“We felt that we needed to add some goaltender depth and with acquiring Ryan, he gives us that,” said Peter Anholt, general manager of the Hurricanes, in a team release. “He’s a big kid who played in the AJHL last year and with him being a year younger than Kegler, we felt it was the right move.”

In three pre-season contests, the 6-foot-4, 188-pound Gilchrist is 1-0-0 with a 3.51 GAA and .875 SP. He spent the 2015-1-6 campaign with the Canmore Eagles of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, going 9-8-2 with a 3.77 GAA and .888 SP. He was originally signed to a WHL Standard Player Agreement by the Thunderbirds on Feb. 20, 2015.

Kegler, a native of Leduc, Alta., is the odd man out after going 1-1-0 with a 4.50 GAA and .873 SP in two pre-season appearances this year. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound netminder spent 2015-16 with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the British Columbia Hockey League, registering a mark of 8-8-0 with a 3.09 GAA, .910 SP and one shutout.  He was originally a fourth round pick (79th) of the Saskatoon Blades at the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.

In three career WHL regular season outings – all with the Blades in 2013-14 – Kegler is 0-2-0 with a 5.63 GAA and .863 SP.

Celebrating their 30th season, the Hurricanes open the 2016-17 campaign on Friday, Sept. 23 (7 p.m.), when they host the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The Thunderbirds kick off the regular season on Saturday, Sept. 24 (7 p.m. PDT) by visiting the Portland Winterhawks.

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