The Everett Silvertips are going all in once again.
A Tuesday trade with the Seattle Thunderbirds has sent top goal scorer Zack Andrusiak to the Silvertips in exchange for forward Sean Richards and prospect Brendan Williamson.
The Thunderbirds also received a second round selection in the 2019 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, a third-round selection in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft, and a conditional fourth-round selection in the 2022 WHL Bantam Draft.
“Zack has been having a very good year for us which made making this trade difficult,” said Thunderbirds general manager Bil La Forge.
Andrusiak is another big addition to the forward core of the Silvertips, who are making a strong bid to capture their second Western Conference Championship in a row and lift the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL Champions for the first time in franchise history.
The 20-year-old Armstrong, B.C. product has been a staple of the Thunderbirds’ offence for the past two seasons. Andrusiak originally made his WHL debut with the Tri-City Americans on December 31, 2014. Since then, he’s appeared in 173 WHL regular season games, including eight and seven-game stints with the Prince Albert Raiders and Americans respectively, totalling 124 points (69G-55A) including 17 power-play goals, one short-handed goal, and five game-winning goals.
“We set a goal leading up to the trade deadline to make a significant offensive upgrade for our club and Zack Andrusiak was a player we’ve targeted for a while who meets our needs,” said Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson. “He’s a finisher and respected as a proven goal scorer in the WHL.
“His capabilities to produce against familiar competition within our division and experience two years ago on a team that won a WHL championship are valuable elements we’re excited to add to a group we’re already very proud of. We look forward to warmly welcoming Zack to the Silvertips family and adding him to the roster in time for our next game on Friday against Tri-City.”
Andrusiak’s first full season in the WHL saw him play 52 regular season games and 18 playoff games as the Thunderbirds captured the WHL Championship in the 2016-17 season. This season, the 5-foot-11, 178-pound Andrusiak has recorded 39 points (27G-12A) in 34 games, including six power-play goals, one short-handed goal, and one game-winning goal.
Richards, also a 20-year-old, will help the Thunderbirds in the short term. The St. Albert, Alta. product began his WHL career with the Regina Pats, but eventually joined the Silvertips in the 2015-16 WHL Regular Season. Overall, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound forward has appeared in 212 WHL regular season games, recording 108 points (41G-67A), including four power-play goals and eight game-winning goals. In 27 games this season, Richards has 18 points (10G-8A), including two power-play goals and two game-winning goals..
Also heading to the Thunderbirds in the deal is Williamson, a 16-year-old from Chilliwack, B.C. The 6-foot-0, 185-pound skater is currently playing with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the British Columbia Major Midget Hockey League. In 24 games, Williamson has 36 points (10G-26A).
The Silvertips are back in action Friday, January 4 (7:05 p.m. PT) against the Tri-City Americans. The Thunderbirds hit the ice next Friday, January 4 (7:30 p.m. CT) against the Brandon Wheat Kings.