The Kamloops Blazers and Moose Jaw Warriors connected for a trade on Friday afternoon. It was a one-for-one swap of Czech Republic natives as the Blazers traded away forward Martin Lang for defenceman Libor Zabransky.
Lang — originally selected 14th overall by the Blazers in the 2018 CHL Import Draft — has amassed 19 points in 31 games this season.
Zabransy began his WHL career in Kelowna where he suited up for 107 regular-season games with the Rockets.
After being released by the Rockets, the Brno native started his 2019-2020 season with the Saskatoon Blades before being traded to the Moose Jaw Warriors. Zabransky tallied six points in 13 games with the Warriors, bringing his season total to 11 points in 29 games.
Most recently, Zabransky served as captain of the Czech Republic’s U20 team at the World Juniors on home soil. Zabransky’s four goals in Ostrava led all defenceman in goal scoring despite playing in just five games.
Friday’s trade helps solidify the Blazers’ blue line after rookie Trevor Thurston and veteran Luke Zazula were shipped out in separate deals earlier this season. With Zabransky in the fold, the Blazers now seven defencemen along with two goaltenders and 13 forwards on the roster.
The transaction was announced just moments before a massive deal occurred between the Moose Jaw Warriors and Victoria Royals that saw five players and six picks traded.
While the Warriors appear to be heading full steam into a rebuild, the Blazers’ acquisition of Zabransky suggests that the team is ready to battle for the B.C. Division crown.
Between the 2021 and 2022 WHL Bantam Drafts, the Blazers possess 12 picks in the first four rounds. If the Blazers choose to add more pieces, expect general manager Matt Bardsley to dip into his surplus of picks.