Prince Albert Raiders general manager Curtis Hunt continued to tinker with his roster ahead of Thursday’s WHL Trade Deadline, adding 2001-born goaltender Boston Bilous from the Edmonton Oil Kings in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick at the 2022 WHL Bantam Draft. Earlier in the morning, Hunt acquired 17-year-old forward Bryce Bader from the Calgary Hitmen as well as 18-year-old defenceman Loeden Schaufler from the Seattle Thunderbirds.
In Bilous, the Raiders land a goaltender with 26 games of WHL experience.
“We would like to thank Boston for his contributions to both the Oil Kings organization and the Edmonton community,” said Kirt Hill, President of Hockey Operations and General Manager for the Oil Kings, in a team release. “We wish him success in all his future hockey endeavours.”
A product of Langley, B.C., Bilous is an interesting study. He was verbally committed to the NCAA’s University of Denver when he was originally selected in the fourth round (80th) of the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. His selection in the WHL Bantam Draft came on the heels of an outstanding season with Delta Hockey Academy of the CSSHL, in which was named the league’s Top Goaltender.
After joining the Oil Kings for his first WHL training camp in September 2016, Bilous made the decision to sign a WHL Standard Player Agreement.
In two full seasons with the Oil Kings since then, the 6-foot-2, 173-pound puckstopper has earned a record of 3-14-1-1 with a 4.25 goals-against average, .846 save percentage and one shutout.
Ahead of the onset of the 2017-18 WHL season, then Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton was very high on Bilous.
“We feel very fortunate to get him where we did in the draft. He was committed at the time to Denver. Where we got him, we felt if there was ever a chance he comes here, we have a very special talent,” Hamilton told Jason Hills of the Edmonton Journal in August 2017. “To be able to recruit him last year and get him to be part of the organization was critical. He knows now what he has to do to compete for a spot.”
What Bilous will now be tasked with doing is competing for a spot in a suddenly crowded Raiders crease. That being said, the Canadian Hockey League-leading Raiders arguably serve as the best team Bilous will have been a member of to this point in his young WHL career.
Already firmly entrenched in Prince Albert is Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ian Scott, who recently suited up for Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver. Scott, a product of Calgary, is 24-4-0-1 with a 1.73 GAA, .939 SV% and four shutouts this season.
Donovan Buskey, a soon-to-be 19-year-old product of Vancouver, was acquired by the Raiders from the Spokane Chiefs earlier this season. The 6-foot-1, 171-pound netminder is 9-1-0-0 with a 3.15 GAA and .870 SV% this season, helping shoulder the load in the Raiders crease while Scott was away with Team Canada.
The Raiders are set to host the Portland Winterhawks on Friday (7 p.m. CT), while the Edmonton Oil Kings visit the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday (7 p.m. MT).
The 2019 WHL Trade Deadline arrives Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. MT.