The leaders of the East and U.S. Divisions have come together on a blockbuster trade.
In a deal between the Prince Albert Raiders and Everett Silvertips Sunday afternoon, Montreal Canadiens prospect Cole Fonstad is headed south of the 49th parallel to wear a different shade of green.
Heading the other way in the deal, the Raiders have received 18-year-old forward Reece Vitelli and three selections in the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. The selections are second and fourth-round picks in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft as well as a conditional third-round selection in the 2022 WHL Bantam Draft.
For the Silvertips, Fonstad’s addition to the team’s forward core is another boost as the Silvertips press to win a fourth-straight U.S. Division title.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound product of Estevan, Sask. was originally selected fifth overall by the Raiders at the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. In nine games during the 2019-20 WHL Regular Season, Fonstad has nine points (2G-7A), including one game-winning goal.
Last season, Fonstad played a key role in the Raiders winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL Champions and capturing the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Regular Season Champions. Fonstad recorded 73 points (29G-44A) in 67 games, including five power-play goals and four game-winning goals during the regular season, matching a career-high total in points while setting a new career-high in goals. In the 2019 WHL Playoffs, Fonstad recorded six points (2G-4A), including one power-play goal, in 21 games.
For his WHL career, Fonstad has appeared in 219 WHL regular season games, posting 182 points (63G-119A), including 14 power-play goals and 11 game-winning goals. In 28 career WHL playoff games, Fonstad has 11 points (6G-5A), including one power-play goal and two game-winning goals.
The Canadiens chose Fonstad in the fifth round, 128th overall, at the 2018 National Hockey League Draft. In Everett, he’ll be reunited with fellow Canadiens prospect Gianni Fairbrother.
“Cole Fonstad is a proven talent who has the tools to make a positive impact with us and fill our immediate needs offensively,” said Silvertips General Manager Garry Davidson. “He’s a shifty, prolific forward with a high level of skill and his track record of experience with a WHL title, World Junior Summer Showcase invite and status as a Montreal Canadiens drafted prospect sets an example for a core of our younger players looking to elevate their game.
“We’re looking forward to Cole’s arrival and welcoming him as a part of the Silvertips family.”
The acquisition of Vitelli is also a smart move for the Raiders to get younger while also acquiring a key offensive piece that can help in the present. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Vitelli has three assists in eight games with the Silvertips to start the 2019-20 WHL Regular Season.
A product of Winnipeg, Man., Vitelli has also played the last two seasons with the Silvertips, posting 40 points (13G-27A), including two game-winning goals, in 144 WHL regular season games.
“We’re excited about adding Reece to our organization,” said Raiders General Manager Curtis Hunt. “Reece is a young centre with a lot of experience. He has versatility that allows him to move throughout our lineup and he plays with a tremendous amount of speed. We think with his style of game, he’ll adapt quickly to our style of play.”
In 32 career WHL playoff games, Vitelli has seven points (4G-3A), including one game-winning goal. The Silvertips chose Vitelli in the fourth round, 83rd overall, of the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft.
The two teams will face each other shortly as well, with the Raiders beginning their U.S. Division road trip against the Silvertips on Saturday, October 19 (7:05 p.m. PT) at Angel of the Winds Arena.
Before welcoming the Raiders, the Silvertips will welcome the Brandon Wheat Kings on Wednesday, October 16 (7:05 p.m. PT) and the Tri-City Americans on Friday, October 18 (7:35 p.m. PT).