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Pats acquire Fleury from ICE in blockbuster deal

Keith Hershmiller/Brad McLeod

 

The Kootenay ICE and Regina Pats pulled off a blockbuster trade early Monday.

On his way to the Queen City is ICE captain Cale Fleury, a third-round selection, 87th overall, of the Montreal Canadiens in the 2017 NHL Draft.

In return, the ICE received an abundance of assets to help them both in the short and long-term. The two big pieces for the moment are 18-year-old defenceman Jonathan Smart and 16-year-old forward Cole Muir. Also traded to the ICE were a second and sixth round selections in the 2018 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, as well as conditional draft pick in the 2019 or 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.

The 2018 second round pick originally belonged to the Medicine Hat Tigers and was acquired in the off-season trade involving goaltender Jordan Hollett. The sixth-round selection originally belonged to the ICE and was acquired by the Pats earlier this season in a deal involving goaltender Kurtis Chapman.

Fleury is a big addition to the Pats’ blue line. The 6-foot-1, 203-pound native of Calgary, Alta. was originally a fourth-round selection, 78th overall, by the ICE in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. Since then, Fleury has 86 points (26G-60A) in 218 regular season games. Of his 26 goals, 11 have come on the power play while another two have counted as game-winning goals.

While Fleury is the big piece in this deal, Smart has also proven himself to be a valuable player in this league. Originally selected in the first round, 22nd overall, by the Kelowna Rockets in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, Smart has recorded 47 points (7G-40A) in 132 games between the Rockets and Pats. The 6-foot-0, 180-pound product of Kelowna, B.C. has also been a part of two lengthy playoff runs, one with the Rockets in 2016 and another with the Pats in 2017.

Muir, a 6-foot-2, 202-pound product of Vista, Man. is still early in his WHL career. Muir was drafted in the second round, 33rd overall, by the Pats in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. He made his debut last February and has played in 12 more games this season, recording one assist in that span. In the 2015-16 season, Muir was one of the best players in Winnipeg’s Bantam AAA league,  tallying 76 points (37G-39A) in 35 games with the Yellowhead Chiefs program.

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