The Edmonton Oil Kings are the latest club to add veteran goaltending depth after acquiring overage netminder Travis Child.
Wednesday morning, the Oil Kings sent a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft to the Wheat Kings in exchange for the services of the 1997-born product of Killam, Alta.
“We are very pleased with the addition of Travis,” said Randy Hansch, general manager of the Oil Kings. “The combination of Travis being a veteran in the league along with this being a fresh start for him allowed us to move forward on this deal.”
The 6-foot-1, 194-pound puck-stopper took to the crease for a career-high 33 games in 2016-17, splitting his season between the Swift Current Broncos and Brandon Wheat Kings. It was a benchmark season across the board for Child as he went 17-6-1-4 with a 2.98 goals-against average, .900 save percentage and two shutouts.
Set to turn 20 on June 13, Child will have the opportunity to play out his final WHL season closer to home than he has ever been. His hometown of Killam – with a modest population of 989 – is located approximately 165 kilometres south east of Edmonton.
“I am very excited to be joining a first-class organization like the Edmonton Oil Kings,” Child said. “I’m also thankful for the opportunity to play close to home for my last season and having the chance to continue working with Dustin Schwartz.”
Schwartz is a goaltending consultant for the Edmonton-based Vimy Hockey Academy and also serves as the goaltending consultant for the Oil Kings, as well as the goaltending coach for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
Child was originally a second-round selection (29th) of the Broncos at the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft. He was dealt from Swift Current to Brandon at the WHL Trade Deadline on Jan. 10. Over the course of 84 career WHL regular season games, he has collected a record of 27-26-3-5 with a 3.16 GAA, .901 SV% and two shutouts.
In Edmonton, he joins a crowded crease that includes 20-year-old Patrick Dea – a product of nearby St. Albert, Alta. – as well as 1999-born Liam Hughes and 1998-born Josh Dechaine. Dea is a veteran of 123 WHL regular season outings, while Hughes saw seven games worth of action in an injury-shortened rookie campaign with Dechaine taking over and manning the crease for 17 games in his own rookie year.
For the Wheat Kings, moving Child seemed inevitable with another overage goaltender – Logan Thompson – already in the fold. Thompson carried the mail for the Wheat Kings down the stretch and in the first round of the 2017 WHL Playoffs. The deal gets the Wheat Kings down to four overage players on the roster, including Thompson, defencemen Kade Jensen and James Shearer and centre Meyer Nell.
Meanwhile, the Oil Kings have a little work to do with five overagers in the fold, including forwards Adam Berg, Jesse Roach and Colton Kehler, along with both Dea and Child in net.
Child becomes the third over goaltender and fourth netminder moved in the past week. Previously, 20-year-olds Mario Petit (Everett Silvertips to Kootenay ICE) and Nick Schneider (Medicine Hat Tigers to Calgary Hitmen) found new homes, along with 18-year-old Jordan Hollett (Regina Pats to Medicine Hat Tigers).
WHL clubs are permitted to carry three overage players on their roster.