The WHL trade deadline passed and the Calgary Hitmen took an active role, making two notable deals. This came after the gut-wrenching news that their leader in defenceman scoring, Egor Zamula, was ruled out for the season. The deals that Calgary made will likely help bolster their bottom six, providing a physical edge and skill on the wing.
The first deal saw Everett, Washington, product Hunter Campbell sent to his hometown Silvertips. In return, the Hitmen received a 2020 sixth-round bantam draft selection and hulking left winger Conrad Mitchell. Mitchell, who stands at 6-foot-5, is a 2001-born player from Thornsby, Alberta. After playing his midget hockey for the Leduc Oil Kings of the AMHL, the 2016 seventh rounder joined Everett as a 17-year-old rookie, suiting up in 43 games last year for the Silvertips. Through 31 games this season, the physical winger has put up four goals and two helpers, already beating last season’s point total of five. Through two games in a Hitmen sweater, Mitchell has played on the fourth line, centred by Adam Kydd in both games. So far, the left winger has added a secondary assist and two penalty minutes while exhibiting a strong ability to wear down opponents. Despite Calgary losing a character player in Campbell, Mitchell is much bigger forward who will likely be relied upon to win corner battles and match up against larger opponents.
The second deal that the Calgary Hitmen made was bringing in Connor Gabruch. Gabruch, a skilled right winger who was listed by the Spokane Chiefs in 2016, made his Hitmen debut on Sunday and did not disappoint, scoring a goal with two penalty minutes. While displaying his grit in the first contest for Calgary, Gabruch and his 6-foot-4 frame showed terrific puck control. The 18-year-old exhibited good hands while forming chemistry with his linemates, Riley Fiddler-Schultz and Sean Tschigerl. The former Saskatoon Blazer had recorded six goals and seven assists in 84 career games for the Spokane Chiefs. He was acquired in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round selection. Later that day. the Hitmen brought in another fifth-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft as Jonas Peterek was shipped to the Memorial Cup host Kelowna Rockets.
In conjunction with these deals, defenseman Tyson Galloway and Andrew Viggars were both recalled from their respective BCHL clubs while Tye Carriere was assigned to the Canmore Eagles of the AJHL.
- Mark Kastelic sits just one goal back of Brandon Segal for fourth in all-time goals scored for the Hitmen. Both Segal and Kastelic have 206 career points.
- Kyle Olson, former Tri-City Americans captain, has yet to suit up for the Hitmen with a week-to-week lower-body injury. Olson, who was traded for James Malm and a draft pick, recorded 14 points (5g,9a) in 16 contests before his injury.