Kirt Hill added some stability to his crease on New Year’s Day just weeks after Todd Scott left the team to join the USHL.
— Edmonton Oil Kings (@EdmOilKings) January 1, 2020
The Oil Kings GM sent out prospects Cade Littler and Carter Gylander, along with a 2021 second-round pick and 2022 fourth-round pick in exchange for the veteran WHL goaltender Beck Warm and forward prospect Riley Stuart from the Tri-City Americans.
What’s going out?
Littler was drafted 199th overall by the Oil Kings in the 2019 Bantam Draft. The 15-year-old has split his time between different clubs this season, putting up 14 points in eight games for the U16 Wenatchee Wilderness, along with tallying eight points in seven games with the U15 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes and debuting in one game for the Wenatchee Wild of the BCHL.
Gylander is a goaltender for the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the AJHL and was drafted 191st overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The native of Beaumont, AB has already committed to play for Colgate University of the NCAA in the 2020-2021 season, so it’s unlikely the goalie would be willing to switch to the WHL after spending the last three years in the AJHL and already obtaining a scholarship.
The second-round pick in 2021 is the most significant piece heading out for Edmonton, but that’s the price the team has to pay to get a goalie of Warm’s caliber without touching any of their premier prospects.
The impact of the trade
Beck Warm is one of the premier goalies in the WHL, and his presence will make an immediate impact in the crease for the Edmonton Oil Kings. Warm leads the entire league in saves this season, making 951 stops in 28 games this season for the Americans. Despite being faced with a heavy workload on a nightly basis, Warm has still been able to put up decent numbers, posting a 0.914 SV% and 3.40 GAA. Those numbers should improve significantly in Edmonton, seeing as the Oil Kings have been a much better defensive team this season than the Americans.
“It’s something we always looked at,” said Oil Kings GM Kirt Hill on when the team decided to look into bringing in another goaltender.
“It wasn’t just the fact that Todd [Scott] left. I think we were always looking to potentially bring in a veteran goalie and an elite guy in the league.”
The question many people have is what does this mean for Sebastian Cossa? The 17-year-old has been having an exceptional rookie season as the starter for the Oil Kings and has appeared to be flourishing into one of the elite goaltenders in the league. He’s undoubtedly the top rookie goalie in the league, currently sitting in fourth place among WHL goaltender in both goals-against average and save percentage, posting a 2.26 GAA and 0.921 SV%.
“We’re bringing in a 20-year-old goalie, but Cossa still has to get his starts,” stated Hill.
“We’ve got to continue to develop him and make sure we’re being fair to him to play the right minutes. He’s been playing a lot here lately, and he’s done a fantastic job with that, but he’s still a young goalie, and he’s got a real bright future ahead of him.”
Hill brings up a lot of good points here in regards to Cossa. The goaltender has been doing an outstanding job and essentially grabbed the reigns of a starting position in his first season with the club. However, there could be a point in the season where he starts to find it challenging to transition from the load of a 13-start season with the Fort Saskatchewan Midget AAA club to being propelled into playing on a nightly basis in the WHL.
Riding Cossa for the stretch of a 68-game season without any other viable option in net is not a risk worth taking for a top-ranked team in the WHL that has their eyes set on the Memorial Cup. The move isn’t meant to bury a young goalie deeper down the depth chart. Instead, the team can now comfortably say they have the best one-two punch goalie tandem in the WHL and don’t have to rely on just one goaltender.
“Last year we had to use two goalies in a playoff round, and you see it in the National Hockey League teams use both goalies now. I don’t think you can rely on one guy,” stated Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer on the importance of adding Warm to the lineup.
“The game and the teams are too good. You need that depth in net, and I think adding Warm definitely gives a good one-two punch.”
Oil Kings fan’s first chance to potentially get a look at Warm will be on January 3rd when the team takes on the Moose Jaw Warriors at Rogers Place. Whether Warm gets the start is still a question, but stay tuned on Twitter to the DubNetwork (@dub_network) and myself (@adamgirard7) to get updates as soon as lineup information becomes available.