As the Trade Deadline comes to a close, the Kelowna Rockets made a handful of impactful trades that reshape the roster for the short and long term.
Kelowna made 4 total deals, one on Saturday, one on Monday and two on Tuesday. We already covered the trade on Saturday, where Kelowna sent Colton Dach to Seattle for a package centred around a first-round pick, Ethan Mittelstadt, Ty Hurley and some late-round choices.
On Monday, the Rockets traded Defenseman Jackson Romeril to the Tri-City Americans in exchange for a fourth-round draft choice in the 2023 WHL Bantam Draft. Romeril, a 17-year-old from Calgary, played in 13 games for Kelowna this season but did not register a point. This is a good opportunity for Jackson, as he was often a healthy scratch, and Kelowna just added Marek Rocak and Ethan Mittelsteadt back on the blue line for more support. Kelowna gets a fourth-round pick in return for Romeril, which is valuable to a team that has been low on draft capital in recent years due to buying at the 2020 deadline for the eventually cancelled Memorial Cup.
On Tuesday, Kelowna dealt 18-year-old Centre Nolan Flamand to the Brandon Wheat Kings. In exchange, the Rockets got a third-round pick in 2023 and a fifth-round pick in 2024. This trade is arguably the most interesting one, Kelowna made this deadline. Flamand has proven himself to be a key faceoff guy and an excellent two-way forward. Having been held goalless in his last 17 games, this change of scenery might be exactly what Flamand needs. It will likely be a tough pill for many to swallow in the Rocket dressing room, as he was always very vocal and energetic. On the return, Kelowna once again replenishes their draft capital with some decent draft choices and gets a Trae Johnson from Brandon. Johnson, 17, is in a similar situation to Flamand. He was a second-round WHL bantam pick back in 2020 and has just 13 points in 100 career WHL games played. I believe Johnson will thrive under a new system and will fit well in Kelowna.
Kelowna’s final deal on Tuesday was with the Prince Albert Raiders. Kelowna acquired Defenseman Landon Cowper’s playing rights in exchange for a fifth-round bantam pick. Cowper is currently playing at Rink Hockey Academy in Kelowna, so now he won’t have to travel far to play in the WHL. He currently has one goal and 15 assists for 16 points in just 18 games so far with RHA. The 2006-born defenseman likely won’t play for Kelowna this year, but they have just added another quality prospect to bring in for the future.
Side note: Noah Dorey is no longer a member of the Kelowna Rockets. In a statement from the team, General Manager Bruce Hamilton announced that he had requested a trade, but the organization was unable to move him before the deadline. He has been released, but the Rockets still own his playing rights.
The Trade Deadline is always the toughest part of the year for most in the Western Hockey League. Being so young and growing old with your closest friends and then getting separated can never be easy. Billets, Parents, Friends, and Family are all affected on this day, and while not easy for some, this is the start of a new adventure for most.