Blazers add NHL prospects Zellweger and Hofer in blockbuster with Silvertips

The Kamloops Blazers have acquired NHL prospects Olen Zellweger and Ryan Hofer in a Sunday blockbuster with the Everett Silvertips.

In exchange, the Silvertips receive forward Drew Englot, defencemen Kaden Hammell and Rylan Pearce, prospect Jack Bakker, nine selections in future WHL Prospects Drafts and one conditional pick.

The two Clubs announced the transaction Sunday evening.

Zellweger, from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., is the reigning Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as WHL Top Defenceman.

He led all WHL blueliners in scoring during the 2021-22 season with 14 goals and 78 points, and has won a trio of gold medals representing Canada.

The 19-year-old was part of the Canadian squad that won back-to-back gold medals at the 2022 and 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships as well as the Canadian winners of the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship.

Originally selected by Everett in the second round of the 2018 WHL Draft, Zellweger has amassed 131 points (28G-103A) in 148 career WHL games.

He was selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the 2021 NHL Draft.

Hofer, from Winnipeg, Man., joins the Blazers having collected 23 goals and 36 points with the Silvertips this season.

Originally signed by Everett in May of 2020, and selected by the Washington Capitals in the sixth round of the 2022 NHL Draft, Hofer has totalled 103 points (54G-49A) in 125 career WHL contests, adding 10 points in six games during the 2022 WHL Playoffs.

Englot, from Candiac, Sask., joins his third WHL Club in Everett with 14 points to his name this season with Kamloops.

The 20-year-old was originally selected by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the fourth round of the 2017 WHL Draft; in 180 WHL games with Regina and Kamloops, he has collected 76 points.

Hammell, from Langley, B.C., was given a ‘B’ rating by NHL Central Scouting earlier this season ahead of the 2023 NHL Draft.

He was originally selected by the Blazers with the 19th-overall pick in the 2020 WHL Prospects Draft and in 100 WHL contests has accrued 24 points.

Pearce, from Martensville, Sask., made his WHL debut in September of 2022, recording two assists in eight games with Kamloops this season.

He was originally selected by Kamloops in the fourth round of the 2020 WHL Prospects Draft.

Bakker, from White Rock, B.C, was selected by the Blazers in the third round of the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft and is slated to represent British Columbia at the upcoming Canada Winter Games beginning February 18.

“We would like to thank Drew and Kaden for their commitment and time with our hockey club,” commented Blazers general manager / head coach Shaun Clouston. “We’d like to wish Drew, Kaden, Rylan and Jack the best in their future endeavours. We’d also like to welcome Olen and Ryan to our hockey club.”

“It was a very tough decision to part with Olen and Ryan as players who we’ve coached and developed from day one here in Everett,” commented Silvertips general manager / head coach Dennis Williams. “At the end of the day, we’re able to bring in players with valuable experience and good battle level in Drew [Englot] and Kaden [Hammell] while putting us in a good position to grow and compete as an organization for the next few years.”

“We know they have tremendous pro hockey careers ahead of them,” he continued. “We’re proud to have called them Silvertips for the majority of their junior careers and wish them nothing but the best as they progress to their next chapter,” Williams added.

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