Rebels deal Freadrich to Royals, straight across for forward Jared Dmytriw
Red Deer GM/head coach Brent Sutter was able to take advantage of a rare luxury — a deluge of defencemen.
The Rebels boss dipped into his blueline depth Wednesday and dealt Jared Freadrich, 19, to the Victoria Royals in exchange for 19-year-old forward Jared Dmytriw.
“When you have nine defencemen it makes it hard to find playing time for them all,” said Sutter, while en route to Kennewick, Wash., where the Rebels will compete in the Tri-City Americans WHL preseason tournament Friday and Saturday.
With 19-year-old veteran Brandon Schuldhaus on board, Ethan Sakowich, Carson Sass, Dawson Barteaux, Jacob Herauf and Alexander Alexeyev all entering their second season and rookies Hunter Donohoe and Sam Pouliot on the verge of earning full-time employment, the trade makes plenty of sense.
“Our thoughts through all of this is that these young guys have to be given an opportunity to play more,” said Sutter. “They’re ready for it.
“It was a hockey trade and it fills a need for both teams, that’s why it will work for both of us. They (Royals) were looking for a certain type of defenceman and we were looking for a certain type of forward. From our standpoint we were able to make that happen because of the amount of defencemen we have and the amount of them who are ready to be everyday guys.”
In the five-foot-11, 189-pound Dmytriw, the Rebels are getting a player whom Sutter is confident can slot into one of the club’s top two lines, likely on a unit with Grayson Pawlenchuk and Mason McCarty. Dmytriw is listed as a right winger but can play centre, as can McCarty.
“We think he (Dmytriw) is a top-six forward. He has good speed and better than average skills,” said Sutter. “He’s a highly competitive guy who skates really well.”
The Craven, Sask., product played three seasons with the Royals and enjoyed his most productive campaign last winter, scoring 15 goals and adding 11 assists in 59 regular-season games. He then tallied twice and picked up two helpers in six playoff contests.
“What probably finalized it for me is the fact that he’s been in the league since he was 16 and he’s been through some really tough playoff games and has been a very well coached player,” said Sutter.
“He had an important role on his team a couple of years ago when he played on the third line in a checking role and learned the defensive side of the game. I think there’s more offence there than what he’s produced, and yet we’ve got to put him in situations for that to happen.”
An ‘offensive’ defenceman, the five-foot-11, 175-pound Freadrich was acquired from the Regina Pats early last October and put up 30 points (6g,24a) in 64 regular-season games and contributed five assists in Red Deer’s seven-game, opening-round playoff loss to Lethbridge.
Sutter, already on the road to Kennewick, broke the news to the Camrose native by way of a cell phone call.
“He took it as well as a player can take it,” said Sutter. “I explained to Freddy that, because of the type of person he is, I would never do a trade like this if I felt he couldn’t go somewhere and still push to be a top four guy, and that’s what Victoria is looking for.
“I explained to him that we had to make room for all the young guys we have here, guys who are ready to play every day. We were forced to do this and both teams got what they were looking for at this point in time.”
Both Sutter and Royals GM Cam Hope discussed the deal for some time before finalizing the transaction Wednesday.
“Cam and I decided that if we were going to do it, then let’s do it now and get the players settled in so when the regular season starts they’ll be ready to go,” said Sutter.
Dmytriw will fly to Calgary Thursday morning and will board the Rebels bus en route to Kennewick. He will fly back to Victoria following Saturday’s contest versus the Portland Winterhawks to collect his car and his goods and will then drive to Red Deer.
The Rebels will take on the host Americans Friday.
Just notes: Red Deer forward Dawson Martin is out indefinitely after suffering a broken arm in preseason action last weekend . . . Five more Rebels players who won’t be making the trip to Kennewick — forwards Lane Zablocki (Detroit Red Wings), Pawlenchuk (Edmonton Oilers), Brandon Hagel (Buffalo Sabres) and Kristian Reichel (Winnipeg Jets), and blueliner Sakowich (Boston Bruins), all of whom have already departed for NHL prospects camps . . . The Rebels will close out their preseason schedule Sept. 16 against the Medicine Hat Tigers at the Centrium. Red Deer’s regular-season opener is set for Sept. 23 versus the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings.