It might be one of the tallest trades in Western Hockey League history as the Kelowna Rockets and Brandon Wheat Kings swapped overage defencemen Wednesday.
The Rockets have acquired defenceman Schael Higson from the Wheaties in exchange for Braydyn Chizen and a fifth-round selection in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft.
“We had the chance to add Higson, we feel that he will add a physical presence to our hockey team,” said Rockets General Manager, Bruce Hamilton. “I think that both players are in the same boat, a change of address will benefit them both.”
Higson was originally listed by the Saskatoon Blades, beginning his WHL career during the 2014-15 WHL Regular Season. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound product of Grande Prairie, Alta. scored the first goal of his WHL career on February 13, 2015 against the Calgary Hitmen.
This season, Higson has appeared in 20 games with the Wheat Kings, recording 17 points (3G-14A), including one game-winning goal. Overall, Higson has appeared in 282 WHL regular season games, posting 79 points (18G-61A), including two power-play goals and five game-winning goals. Higson won a WHL Championship with the Wheat Kings in 2016.
Headed the other way in the deal is Chizen, a 6-foot-7, 207-pound product of St. Albert, Alta. the big blue liner was originally selected in the ninth round, 197th overall, by the Rockets at the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. Chizen eventually made his debut with the Rockets in the 2014-15 season, scoring the first goal of his WHL career on January 23, 2016 in a game against the Medicine Hat Tigers.
“Braydyn is a big-bodied right shot defenceman with over 200 games of experience in this league” said Wheat Kings General Manager Grant Armstrong. “We look forward to adding him to our lineup as soon as Friday night.”
The Minnesota Wild selected the defenceman in the seventh round, 204th overall, at the 2016 National Hockey League Draft, though Chizen is now a free agent.
Overall, Chizen has appeared in 211 WHL regular season games posting 34 points (11G-23A), including one short-handed goal and two game-winning goals.
The Rockets are in action Wednesday, January 9 (7:05 p.m. PT), playing host to the Everett Silvertips. The Wheat Kings play host to the Red Deer Rebels Friday, January 11 (7:30 p.m. CT).