CANMORE – The Canmore Eagles shook things up on the AJHL trade deadline day this past Sunday (Dec.1).
General manager and head coach Andrew Milne made two transactions on Sunday evening, sending captain Tian Rask to the Melfort Mustangs of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) in a deal that sent Ryley Lanthier to the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
“This was something Tian and I had been talking about for a little while,” said Milne.
Milne explained that Rask had been dealing with personal matters and that it was best for the Saskatoon native to be closer to home.
“This was a ‘human trade,’ we put our players well-being first and that’s something we will always try to do,” Milne said.
On Monday (Dec. 2), Rask took to Twitter to thank the organization and fans.
“I would like to thank [the Canmore Eagles] for every opportunity they have given me these past three years. To the town, fans, billets and all who have supported me and this organization, Thank you. With this being said I am very excited to kick things off with the [the Mustangs].”
A tenacious player, Rask logged two and a half seasons with the Eagles amassing 97 points and 346 penalty minutes.
Milne’s second move on deadline day was the acquisition of forward Mitchell Watson from the Okotoks Oilers for futures. Through 29 games this season, the Calgary-native has five goals and six assists.
“Mitchell is a strong player, who I think hasn’t been able to be as productive as he would like on a really deep team in Okotoks,” Milne said.
The Eagles coaching staff has stressed the importance of secondary scoring throughout the season, and Milne is hopeful Watson can jump on the opportunity.
“We need some secondary scoring. We need guys to start contributing – we can’t rely on Alex and Connor all the time.”
With a pair of losses over the weekend to Whitecourt and Bonneyville, the Eagles now find themselves on a four game loosing skid, the longest of the season.
Over the last four games Canmore has been outscored 26-12, but goaltender Kadin Kilpatrick says the team is not pushing the panic button.
“Mentally, we just have to think about hitting reset and stay calm. We played two very tough teams this weekend, now we just have to put those [losses] behind us and focus on getting some positive results next week,” said Kilpatrick.
Milne said the club is taking “baby steps” in the right direction and will continue to work and improve on the defensive side of the game.
The Eagles will head to Camrose for a weekend double header and look to get to within one point of the Kodiaks in the standings.