On Thursday, the WHL’s trade deadline, Portland traded 19-year-old forward Ryan Hughes to the Saskatoon blades for fellow 1999-born forward Josh Paterson and two draft selections.
In the deal, the Winterhawks received a 2020 2nd round pick, previously belonging to Swift Current. The Broncos traded this pick when they acquired Logan Flodell in October 2017.
Portland also acquired a 2021 4th round selection belonging to Saskatoon.
After trading away six bantam draft picks on Wednesday to acquire Joel Hofer, Winterhawks’ general manager Mike Johnston recouped two selections in Thursday’s trade.
In a press release Winterhawks general manager and head coach Mike Johnston said, “Ryan has been a quality player for us over the last four years and we know he will continue his strong play in Saskatoon.”
Regarding Josh Paterson, Johnston said, “Josh adds size, experience, and leadership to our group and is a versatile forward who can produce offensively.”
Paterson is expected to join the team as soon as possible, and could play this weekend.
He wore 61 for Saskatoon but will wear number 17 for Portland.
Who is Josh Paterson:
Josh Paterson is a 19-year-old forward listed at six-foot-three and 205 pounds from Edmonton, Alberta. Like Ryan Hughes, Paterson was not drafted in the NHL draft; however, Josh selected in the second round of the 2014 Bantam Draft.
Paterson made the Blades’ roster as a 16-year-old as did Hughes.
During the 2015-2016 campaign Josh was selected to represent Team Canada at the U17 Hockey Challenge. Portland’s Seth Jarvis played in the 2018 version of the tournament.
As a 19-year-old Paterson is eligible to return as an overage player as one of three possible players Portland could choose to retain. Ryan Hughes is in a similar situation now with Saskatoon.
Paterson is in his fourth season in the WHL, all with Saskatoon.
Each year Josh increased his production:
|Season||Games Played||Goals||Assists||Points||+/-||Penalty Minutes|
In 2015-2016 the Saskatoon Blades finished 11th in the Eastern Conference with 56 points in 72 games. As a 16-year-old Paterson ranked as the 15th highest scoring player on his team. On a team with four players who finished the regular season -30 or worse, his +/- numbers are not as concerning.
In 2016-2017 the Blades improved to 9th, missing the playoffs by five points. Their points increased to 65 in 72 games. As a 17-year-old Paterson’s 37 points was good enough for fourth highest scoring on Saskatoon. Seven of his 17 goals came via the power play. Saskatoon gave up 248 goals during the campaign and Paterson finished -23.
Last year, despite increasing their points to 74 in 72 games, the Blades fell short of the playoffs by three points. Paterson once again finished fourth in scoring this time with 53 points. He played on the power play and was clearly a shooter. Josh contributed ten goals but did not register a power-play assist.
Paterson is a bigger-bodied player who is not afraid to drive the net, stand in front, or deflect shots as shown in a highlight video produced by the WHL after the 2017-2018 season:
So far this season through 41 games, Paterson’s 32 points is currently fourth among forwards on the Blades, and sixth overall.
When he joins the Winterhawks he will slot into fifth in scoring behind Joachim Blichfeld (77), Cody Glass (55), Reece Newkirk (44). And Jake Gricius (39). Jared Freadrich will be sixth with 30 points.
Over the last several games Paterson has not been playing with consistent linemates. Some of the players include: 19-year-old Riley McKay (7-6-13), 16-year-old rookie Kyle Crnkovic (4-9-13), 1999-born Norwegian import Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (10-10-20), and 17-year-old rookie Tristen Robins (6-7-13).
WIth 41 games played, Josh has suited up in all but two games for the Blades. The two games were Saskatoon’s first two of the season. Paterson was on the receiving end of a check to the head by Parker Gavlas, who was playing for Regina at the time. The hit occured in a pre season game, and the major penalty also came with a six game suspension for Gavlas.
Prior to the head contact, Paterson held an iron-man streak of 145 games.
More Josh Paterson highlights from the WHL’s twitter account:
Give a warm welcome to new @pdxwinterhawks forward Josh Paterson, who has 1️⃣3️⃣8️⃣ points (74G-64A) in 2️⃣4️⃣6️⃣ games!
— The WHL (@TheWHL) January 10, 2019
What does this mean for Portland:
No doubt Portland gave up a quality player in Ryan Hughes, and a player who stepped up in the month of December, especially while Cody Glass was away at World Juniors:
11 GP – 10 Goals, 11 Assists, 21 points, +9 rating. Ten games with a point, five multi-point nights, four nights were three points or more.
Hughes was playing top-line minutes for Mike Johnston recently. On Tuesday and Wednesday he skated on a line with Cody Glass and Joachim Blichfeld. Prior to Glass departing, the trio was playing together as well and finding success.
With Hughes off to Saskatoon, the top-line left wing position is vacated. Paterson should be a leading candidate to fill the spot. Jake Gricius is another option given his chemistry with Glass and Blichfeld.
Ryan Hughes suffered a scary knee injury last season limiting the amount of games he played. The injury came as a result of a boarding penalty to Spokane’s Rykr Cole on October 10th 2017. Cole was handed a three game suspension by the league for the hit.
Hughes returned just over two months later on December 16th. The opponent happened to be Spokane again.
Ryan Hughes’ career statistics:
|Season||Games Played||Goals||Assists||Points||+/-||Penalty Minutes|
Comparing the two player’s career per-game statistics:
|Player||Career games||Goals per game||Assists per game||Points per game||Career +/-||Career penalty minutes|
The biggest question is where does Paterson slot into the line chart? Is the change just a straight swap or are there additional line adjustments coming?
Portland no doubt added some size to their lineup as Paterson becomes the second tallest forward and the heaviest player on roster.
What does this mean for Portland’s drafts:
Portland’s draft cupboard is shallow near the top in the next three drafts, but did get slightly restocked in this trade.
2019 – Their first selection will occur with their own 3rd round pick. Prince George owns Portland’s 2nd round choice as part of last season’s Dennis Cholowski acquisition.
2020 – The Winterhawks add Swift Current’s 2nd round selection. The pick is currently projected to be better than their own they gave to the Broncos for Hofer. Portland’s next selection is their own 5th rounder.
2021 – There are some conditions for this year. If Bobby Brink is signed Portland owes their 2nd round selection to Prince George. If Brink is signed, the Winterhawks will make their first selection in the 3rd round. Their own 4th round pick appears to be available as Brink will not sign with Portland prior to today’s deadline. The 4th round pick they acquired on Thursday belongs to Saskatoon which should be somewhere in the middle of the round. Portland’s 6th round pick must be sent to the Cougars if Brink signs after today and before October 10th 2019.
Overall, a player who spent three plus seasons in a Winterhawks sweater is no longer on roster. Hughes was an assistant captain for the team as well. Therefore, a locker room leader will be absent moving forward. Ryan is a stand-up guy, who win or lose, was available for an interview. Saskatoon is receiving a quality player along with a character guy.
Paterson’s WHL career statistics shows he can produce at this level. Depending on the line he joins, my hunch is the top line, Josh’s numbers may increase. Similar to Hughes, Paterson is a candidate for an overage spot next season. So, unless he signs a pro contract, as he would be eligible for the NHL/AHL/ECHL, Paterson could continue with Portland as a 20-year-old.
The additional size Paterson brings will be a welcome addition. Portland’s forward size has been on the smaller side since Lukus MacKenzie and Rylan Bettens went home.
The two draft picks helps restock some of what was given up for Hofer. This is a trade where there may not be a clear “winner” or “loser”.
Both teams checked off boxes with this deal.
All trades must be submitted to the league by 2:00 Pacific on Thursday.