Having lost three consecutive games and sitting fourth in the B.C. Division, the Vancouver Giants were in need of a shakeup. General Manager Barclay Parneta executed exactly that Saturday afternoon.
In search of depth up front, the Giants acquired 20-year-old forward Tyler Preziuso and 19-year-old defenceman Trevor Longo, as well as a first-round pick in 2020 and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2021 from the Medicine Hat Tigers. In exchange, the G-Men send longtime defenceman Dylan Plouffe, 20, and highly-skilled 18-year-old forward Lukas Svejkovsky to Medicine Hat, along with a third-round pick in 2020 and a conditional third-round pick in 2021.
“Tyler Preziuso and Trevor Longo are two highly-respected, experienced players who are going to be valuable additions to the Vancouver Giants,” Parneta said. “Tyler has played nearly 300 games in the WHL and was an alternate captain and Trevor plays a sound, physical, two-way game. The acquisition of an additional first-round draft pick in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft was a significant component to this deal as well.”
Preziuso, a product of Victoria, B.C., has posted 22 points (9G-13A) in 28 games with the Tigers so far this season. The 5-foot-11, 184-pound right winger was originally selected in the third round (61st) of the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. Since then, he has skated in 293 career WHL regular season games, collecting 138 points (55G-83A) along the way.
“We would like to thank Tyler and Trevor for their hard work and dedication to the Tigers organization,” said Willie Desjardins, General Manager and Head Coach of the Tigers. “Their parents should be proud of their work ethic and determination displayed. We didn’t want to move Tyler and Trevor but Vancouver was interested in both players.”
Meanwhile, Longo brings a steady presence on the blueline and will look to fill the shoes vacated by Plouffe in Vancouver. The trade serves as a homecoming for Longo, a three-year veteran and a product of North Vancouver. In 27 games this season, Longo has registered 10 points (4G-6A) and a plus-7 rating. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 200 pounds, Longo was originally a sixth-round selection (128th) of the Tigers at the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. In 110 career WHL regular season contests, he has tallied 27 points (9G-18A) and a minus-1 rating.
On the flip side of this deal, the already high-flying Tigers bolster a roster that is entrenched in a fierce battle for the Central Division crown. Heading into Saturday night, the Tigers trail the division-leading Edmonton Oil Kings by only three points. Meanwhile, the Tigers’ Highway 3 rivals – the Lethbridge Hurricanes – are nipping at their heels, only two points behind Medicine Hat. The Tigers have three games in hand on both the Oil Kings and the Hurricanes, leaving Medicine Hat with a certain sense of control over the division as it currently stands.
“We are excited for Dylan and Lukas to join the Tigers organization,” Desjardins said. “They are two players we were targeting and we think they will step in and be a part of our culture right away. They are both excellent offensive players who were key contributors on a team that went to the WHL finals last year. We are looking forward to working with them both.”
Plouffe, a 20-year-old product of Sherwood Park, Alta., adds a tough two-way presence for Desjardins. With 22 points (5G-17A) in 28 games, Plouffe ranked third on the Giants in scoring at the time of the trade. The 6-foot, 201-pound defenceman adds experience and leadership for the Tigers, having just made a trip to Game 7 of the WHL Championship with Vancouver in 2019. Originally a second-round pick (29th) at the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, Plouffe has skated in 272 career WHL regular season games, notching 123 points (28G-95A) along the way. In 29 career WHL post-season outings, Plouffe has secured another 17 points (7G-10A), 16 of which came during the Giants run last spring.
As for Svejkovsky, the highly-skilled product of Point Roberts, Wash., is eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft and was listed as a C-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting’s most recent ‘Players to Watch’ list in November. Through 18 games, the 5-foot-9, 158-pound right winger has tallied 10 points (5G-5A). It won’t take fans in Medicine Hat long to get excited about Svejkovsky, who fits the Tigers mold – small, shifty and supremely skilled. Originally a second-round pick (36th) of the Giants at the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, Svejkovsky has dressed in 85 career WHL regular season games, recording 36 points (14G-22A). As a younger player, he was a key cog for the Giants last spring, getting into action in all 22 playoff games and recording 13 points (4G-9A) in a supporting role.
“We wish to thank both Dylan and Lukas for their contributions to the Vancouver Giants and we wish them the best as they continue their respective WHL careers with the Medicine Hat Tiger,” Parneta said.
Both Plouffe and Svejkovsky are expected in the lineup tonight when the Tigers host the Everett Silvertips at 7:30 p.m. MT.
As for Preziuso and Longo, the pair are expected to join their new squad in time to take to the ice Sunday afternoon at Rogers Arena in Vancouver as the Giants host their annual Teddy Bear toss game at 4 p.m. PT.