Despite moving only one player off their roster, the Bombers managed to pick up a pair of top-six forwards and a promising young goalie before the clock struck midnight on the Jan. 10 roster deadline.
The Bombers made their first move of the post-Christmas period with barely 24 hours remaining before the deadline, dealing a player development fee and the rights to forward Ryan Moon to the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles.
In return, the Bombers received goaltender Cal Schell, an 18-year-old puckstopper from Burlington, Ont who was serving as the Eagles’ backup goalie.
On deadline day, the Bombers didn’t make any noise until right before the deadline, orchestrating a troika of trades with moments to go before the end.
The chain began with a deal that sent Brandon Cianflone to the CCHL’s Pembroke Lumber Kings for Cedric Matte, who Pembroke dealt for earlier in the day.
Matte didn’t stay a Bomber for long, being traded for the third time on deadline day to the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines for forward Hayden Clayton and a player development fee.
The third trade of the day was arguably the biggest blockbuster of the SJHL trade season. The Bombers dealt two bantam draft selections – 2018 5th rounder Connor Yager and 2019 5th rounder Kalem Parker – and a player development fee to the Melville Millionaires for forward Zach Bannister.
Schell served as the Eagles’ back-up during his first season outside his home province, ending up with a 3.76 goals-against-average and a .892 save percentage in 14 BCHL games. A towering 6-foot-3, 180 pound netminder, Schell suited up last year as a 17-year-old in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, a junior B circuit based in southern Ontario. Playing with the Hamilton Kilty B’s, he finished the season as the league’s top goaltender. Schell’s major junior rights are currently owned by the Oshawa Generals.
Flin Flon acquired Moon as the final piece of future considerations in the trade that sent goalie Gabriel Waked to the Trail Smoke Eaters. He played two games with the Bombers before suffering an injury and heading home to B.C.
Clayton brings some size to the Bomber forward core, as the 19-year-old Sylvan Lake, Alta. native stands 6-foot-4, 209 pounds. The right winger has 26 points in 38 games with the Wolverines this season. Clayton played games in four separate seasons with the Wolverines, playing with both Chase and Eason Haygarth last season. Clayton also brings some major junior experience to the Bombers, suiting up for eight games with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Bomber fans will be familiar with Bannister, who led the archrival La Ronge Ice Wolves in scoring last season with 70 points. After starting the season in La Ronge, Bannister was traded to the Melville Millionaires, where he played 19 games before leaving the club to await a trade.
This season, Bannister has nine goals, 27 assists and 36 points in 39 games. The 20-year-old from Grande Prairie, Alta. is on his seventh junior A team, having played for three AJHL teams and a club in northern Ontario before heading to Saskatchewan.
In 10 games against the Bombers last season, Bannister performed well, scoring 10 goals and 18 points for the Ice Wolves.
F Brandon Cianflone
F Ryan Moon (inactive)
F Connor Yager (midget AAA player)
D Kalem Parker (midget AAA player)
G Cal Schell
F Hayden Clayton
F Zach Bannister