On Thursday, the Portland Winterhawks traded defenseman Nick Perna to the Medicine Hat Tigers in exchange for a 4th round selection in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.
The move marked the second time this season the Winterhawks and Tigers came together for a move. On September 6, signed goalie Evan Fradette was sent to Medicine Hat for an 8th round pick in 2021.
Prior to the deal, Portland had eight defensemen on roster, and a ninth signed (Ryder Thompson).
Now, with Perna’s departure, it is likely Mike Johnston will roll a consistent five in Johnny Ludvig, Matthew Quigley, Jonas Brøndberg, Clay Hanus, and Nick Cicek.
Meanwhile, Kade Nolan and Kurtis Smythe figure to be the rotation on the back end (once Nolan is back healthy).
The move gives Perna a fresh start in Medicine Hat on a team looking for defensive help and size. The six-foot-three Dallas, Texas native provides exactly what Willie Desjardins, Tigers General Manager and Head Coach, is looking for as he looks to improve his team.
In 47 games with the Winterhawks, Perna registered one goal and 11 assists for 12 points.
From a Portland perspective, the draft selection in 2020 is much needed.
Prior to the trade, Portland only held eight picks in the next Bantam Draft, which doesn’t include a 1st, 3rd, 4th, or 6th. The 2nd rounder is not their own, but in fact Swift Current’s, via Saskatoon in the Ryan Hughes/Josh Paterson trade.
The Winterhawks 1st and 3rd belongs to the Prince George Cougars from the Dennis Cholowski deal back in January 2018.
Their own 2nd and 4th are now owned by Swift Current courtesy of the Joel Hofer acquisition last season.
The Red Deer Rebels have possession of Portland’s 6th via the Lukus MacKenzie exchange in 2018.
In summary, the Winterhawks now hold the following selections in the 2020 draft:
- 2nd – (Swift Current’s)
- 4th – (Medicine Hat’s)
The January 10 WHL trade deadline is fast approaching. Vice president, general manager, and head coach Mike Johnston will have some tough decisions ahead on how/if he wants to improve his team via trade for a playoff run.