A late Thursday deal saw a pair of Trans-Canada rivals connect to better each other in the present and future.
The Moose Jaw Warriors acquired 19-year-old Alec Zawatsky from the Swift Current Broncos late Thursday afternoon in exchange for 18-year-old forward Tyler Smithies, a fourth-round pick in the 2020 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft and a fifth-round selection in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft.
For a team like the Warriors that have been the surprise team in the WHL’s Eastern Conference, the deal makes sense. In adding a contributing forward to their depth, the Warriors get stronger. This season, Zawatsky has put together 26 points (13G-13A) in 39 games with the Broncos, leading the team in scoring.
The trade makes Zawatsky the sixth-best scorer on the Warriors, who sit third in the East Division with a 21-9-5-2 record.
Zawatsky began his WHL career with the Blades in the 2017-18 WHL Regular Season, making his league debut on November 3, 2017 and scoring the first goal of his WHL career a few days later against the Warriors on November 15, 2017.
Overall, the 5-foot-8, 165-pound forward from Yorkton, Sask. has appeared in 82 WHL regular season games with the Broncos and Saskatoon Blades, amassing 34 points (16G-18A), including five power-play goals and a one game-winning goal.
In return the Broncos picked up three assets, including the 18-year-old Smithies, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound product of Beaumont, Alta.
Listed by the Warriors in 2016, Smithies began his WHL career with the Warriors in the 2016-17 season, making his WHL debut on November 10, 2016 and scoring the first goal of his WHL career on January 10, 2018 against the Calgary Hitmen.
In 57 WHL regular season games with the Hitmen, Smithies had eight points (3G-5A), including a pair of power-play goals. Smithies has also appeared in two WHL playoff games.
The Alberta product has also appeared in five games with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Drayton Valley Thunder this season, recording a pair of goals. The two added picks will also help the Broncos in the future as they look to replenish their prospect system.
The Warriors host the Seattle Thunderbirds Friday, January 11 (7:00 p.. CT). The Broncos take to the ice next against the Thunderbirds as well on Saturday, January 12 (7:00 p.m. CT).
The 2019 WHL Trade Deadline arrives Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. MT.