The Kootenay Ice have acquired 18-year-old forward Dylan Stewart and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft from the Prince Albert Raiders in exchange for 17-year-old forward Drew Warkentine.
With only 10 healthy regular forwards available Tuesday against the Regina Pats (the Ice dressed regular defencemen Jason Wenzel and Nathyn Mortlock on the fourth line), the addition of Stewart without giving up a roster body is a welcome one.
“What he adds is a healthy body, first and foremost,” said Jeff Chynoweth, Kootenay Ice president and general manager, with a chuckle. “The run we’ve had — we only had 12 forwards to start with and we’re currently playing two defencemen up front.
“[Stewart] is a hard-working player. He gives you everything he has, he’s a character-type player. From our end, twofold — we were looking for a guy with some WHL experience, we liked him in bantam and we feel there’s a good upside.”
The Ice are currently without right wing Jaedon Descheneau (upper body, indefinite) and right wing Max Patterson (upper body).
Though listed as day-to-day, Patterson isn’t expected to be available this weekend, according to Chynoweth.
Stewart, a 6-foot-1, 187-pound native of Edmonton, registered two goals and three points in 11 games to start the season in Prince Albert. In 80 career WHL games, the left winger has tallied eight goals, 10 points and 13 penalty minutes.
Stewart is expected to be in Cranbrook in time for practice with the Ice Thursday afternoon and will be available to the team Friday when they host the Saskatoon Blades at Western Financial Place.
In addition to Stewart, the Ice acquire a conditional fifth-round pick in the swap.
According to Chynoweth, the pick is conditional on Warkentine being on a WHL roster as of Jan. 10, 2016. If Warkentine is on a WHL roster, the Ice receive a 2017 fifth-rounder from the Raiders. If Warkentine is not on a WHL roster, the pick is removed from the transaction.
At the end of the day, the addition of the draft pick serves as compensation for the difference in age between the 18-year-old Stewart and 17-year-old Warkentine.
Warkentine, a native of Prince Albert, has played five games (scoring one goal) with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos this season, but is expected to join the Raiders, according to Chynoweth.
Stewart was originally a fifth-round selection (99th overall) of the Raiders at the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.
Warkentine was a originally a fifth-round selection (89th overall) of the Ice at the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.