Kootenay Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth is one step closer to solving his overage situation after trading right wing Jon Martin to the Swift Current Broncos.
Martin, a native of Winnipeg, was dealt to the Broncos in exchange for a fourth-round selection in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft on Sunday night.
“I don’t think it gets anymore difficult than it was [Sunday] night,” Chynoweth said Monday. “To look in Jon’s eyes — and see the emotion, the passion and the heartbreak — to let him know we had moved him, it broke my heart as it always does.
“There’s nothing more difficult. What Jon gave us for the last four years, you just can’t put into words. You win championships with players like Jon Martin.”
In four games this season, Martin was off to a strong start, registering three goals and an assist. He joins a Broncos club that sits fifth in the tough East Division, having started the season 1-2-1-0.
The 6-foot-2, 218-pound winger came to the Ice via the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft — a seventh-round selection (135th overall).
In 250 career games with the Ice, Martin tallied 35 goals and 72 points, along with 346 penalty minutes.
With Martin now out of the picture, the Ice retain five overage players — goaltender Wyatt Hoflin, defencemen Tyler King (long-term injury) and Tanner Lishchynsky, right wing Jaedon Descheneau and centre Luke Philp.
With King, he isn’t expected to be healthy and ready to play until deep into the campaign, at which point Chynoweth will have two weeks from the time of King’s return to make a decision — once again — regarding his overage situation.
Until that time, King is exempt from the overage limit, meaning the Ice could technically carry four overage players until he is healthy.
“It could be, at the earliest, the end of November. It could be after Christmas,” Chynoweth said regarding King’s status. “We’ll see how everything goes. He goes to get a check-up on his knee [Monday] with the surgeon in Saskatoon.”
Lishchynsky has been nursing a lower-body injury and is travelling with the Ice as they head to Saskatchewan this week. The hope is he will be ready to play later in the road trip, perhaps Friday in Brandon or Saturday in Moose Jaw.
WHL clubs are permitted to carry as many overage players as they like, but may only dress three on any given night, up until Oct. 16, at which point teams can only retain three overage players.
That leaves less than two weeks for Chynoweth to determine how his 20-year-old situation will shake out.
The Ice previously dealt 20-year-old defenceman Tanner Faith to the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick back on Sept. 23.