Wheat Kings Trade Kaspick & Clague

10.01.2018 19:33
By: Branden Crowe

A pair of major moves on deadline day


Photo by Brandi Pollock

Brandon, MB (CKLQ) – It was an emotional day for the Brandon Wheat Kings as the hockey club parted ways with two “face of the franchise” players in Kale Clague and Captain Tanner Kaspick in a pair of separate deadline day deals on Wednesday.

To Moose Jaw:

–Kale Clague (98D)

To Brandon:

-Luka Burzan (00F)

-Chase Hartje (99D)

-’18 2nd Round Pick

-’19 1st Round Pick

-’21 1st Round Pick

To Victoria:

–Tanner Kaspick (98F)

–Cameron MacDonald (02F)

To Brandon:

–Jonathon Lambos (01D)

–Ty Thorpe (02F)

-’19 1st Round Pick

-’21 1st Round Pick

Sitting in 3rd place in the Eastern Division, many thought the Wheat Kings would be buyers as the 2nd half of the 2017/2018 season began. However, as the rest of the teams in the division loaded up and made significant deals, the Wheat Kings felt like their best option was to set themselves up for the future.

“We decided during this process that we needed to get better,” said General Manager Grant Armstrong. “I think we have looked at it from the long-term perspective and felt that our need was to get the pieces to build from and I think we did that today.”

In return, the Wheat Kings not only set themselves up for the future on the ice with a pair of current WHL’ers and two more high-end prospects but office as well with four 1st round draft picks and a 2nd round pick that originally belonged to the Prince George Cougars.

“When you look at all the changes that have been made in the East Division, we felt this was the time to make good changes for our future. It’s tough to put banners up every year, but we play an entertaining brand of hockey and we’re going to continue to play that way.”

Considering the Wheat Kings have the 3rd best record in arguably the toughest division in the CHL right now, many fans are left wondering what’s left in the tank without Kaspick and Clague for the remainder of this season, something Armstrong was quick to defend.

“I still don’t believe we have walked away from the year and I want to stress that,” said Armstrong.  “I hope the fans recognize what we’re doing here and the belief that moving forward we’re just going to get better and better. At the end of the day we have to do what’s best for the hockey club and I feel we’ve done that. ”

Fans in the Wheat City have watched Kaspick and Clague develop into top-tier NHL prospects. The pair, who have combined to play in over 360 games in a Wheat Kings jersey were both a part of the 15/16 WHL Championship season.

“Its a tough day…. To be realistic these guys were the heart and soul of our hockey club,” added Armstrong. “These guys grew up in this town and they owe everything in their hockey career to the Brandon Wheat Kings… It’s tough.”

Brandon plays their final two home games of January this weekend, and there is no word yet on if Burzan and Hartje will be in the lineup for either game.

The Wheat Kings welcome Calgary on Friday night, before Medicine Hat comes to town on Saturday. Both games are scheduled for 7:30.

ADDITIONAL QUOTES FROM GRANT ARMSTRONG

On Luka Burzan

“Luka is a high impact player who is gong to get an opportunity to do more of what he couldn’t do in moose jaw with their lineup. He’s gonna get in positions that will challenger him to become a better player and he’s gonna welcome that.”

On Chase Hartje

“Chase is a great young defenseman with great mobility and great skill level. He’s wants to be a player and he’s going to come in here every day trying to become one.”