The Edmonton Oil Kings continue to shuffle things around on their roster in efforts to prepare for the 2020-21 WHL season, as they had a busy day on the trade front.
Today the team announced that they have traded veteran defender Wyatt McLeod to the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for a conditional ninth-round draft pick in 2022. They also sent forward Vladimir Alistrov to the Seattle Thunderbirds for defenceman Simon Kubicek.
McLeod moves from one playoff team to another as the Blades finished eighth in the Eastern Conference in 2019-20 and clinched a playoff berth with a 34-24 record and 73 points.
As a 20-year-old player with one year of eligibility left in the WHL, McLeod will perhaps have an opportunity to play a bigger role in Saskatoon. His experience in the league is certainly a welcome addition.
McLeod was a steady presence on the Oil Kings blue line for the past four seasons. He played in 204 games for Edmonton, racked up 54 points, and had an all-time +28 plus/minus rating in regular-season play. In 16 career playoff games, he had seven points and was +9. He has also served as an assistant captain for the Oil Kings since the 2018-19 season.
McLeod had his best season to date in 2019-20 when he posted 21 points in 48 games and an impressive +19 plus/minus rating.
What the future holds
With the addition of now 21-year-old forward Kaid Oliver, who was acquired in April of 2020, the Oil Kings inevitably were going to have some tough decisions to make regarding other veteran players on the roster.
Unfortunately, the Oil Kings lose a quality defenceman in McLeod but also gain some value to put towards the future with a draft pick coming back the other way in the deal.
The upcoming 2020-21 WHL season will surely be unlike anything we have ever seen before and unlike anything any junior player has ever been a part of with the shortened game schedule.
McLeod has a tremendous chance to make an impact with his new team in Saskatoon and could have a monster year on the blue line which can result in turning a few heads.
All the best wishes extended to the veteran blueliner. Once an Oil King, always an Oil King!
Now on to the newest addition of the Oil Kings blue line. Kubicek is a Czech Republic-born right-handed defender who stands six foot two inches tall.
Last season he played in 52 games for the Thunderbirds, scored 27 points, and had 54 penalty minutes.
For the beginning of the 2020-21 season, Kubicek has been playing in professional Czech leagues and also just recently competed at the IIHF World Junior Championship for the Czech Republic. In the tournament, he scored two points in four games.
Kubicek has a lot of experience and intriguing tools that will prove to be an asset for the Oil Kings defence corps. Particularly, his incredible shot from the blue line.
“I want to thank Simon for his two years as a Thunderbird and wish him the best with the Oil Kings and in his hockey future,” Seattle Thunderbirds General Manager Bil La Forge said. “Alistrov is an interesting option for our team,” he added.
Goodbye old friend
Sadly, the team had to say farewell to Vladimir Alistrov. He is currently playing in the KHL for Dinamo Minsk and has two points in 28 games.
Alistrov was a versatile forward for the Oil Kings. He is coming off a breakout 2019-20 season which saw him net 35 points in 57 games.
We wish Vladimir the best of luck in his future with the Seattle Thunderbirds and beyond.