As a rebuilding team, the Red Deer Rebels had to find a way to get all of their younger players in the lineup on a regular basis.
That opportunity arose Monday when Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter traded 20-year-old centre Brett Davis to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2021 WHL bantam draft.
“We were sitting out a young kid every night to keep our older guys happy,” said Sutter. “At the end of the day we want to develop these players and they have to be playing.
“Pete (Hurricanes GM Anholt) and I talked yesterday this morning and it made sense for us to do this.”
Sutter insisted he’s not throwing in the towel on the season despite the fact Davis was tied for second among Red Deer scorers with nine goals and 24 points in 37 games. The Rebels are currently nine points out of an Eastern Conference wild card playoff berth.
“We’re certainly not giving up on making the playoffs or anything like that,” he said. “This just gives us an opportunity to get all these kids in the lineup every night, especially up front.”
The move will be beneficial to the likes of centre Ethan Rowland, who was recently scratched for two games.
“Now he can get into the lineup and get back to playing his natural position,” said Sutter.
Davis, a native of Oakbank, Man., is headed back to his first WHL team. He joined the Hurricanes in 2015 and played one and a half seasons in Lethbridge before being dealt to the Kootenay Ice.
Sutter acquired Davis and fellow forward Cam Hausinger from the Ice in November of 2018.
“The trade is good for Davey too,” said the Rebels boss. “He knows he’s going to be in the playoffs for sure and the longer he plays the better it will be for him moving forward.”
Davis was selected by the Dallas Stars in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL entry draft but was never offered a contract by the team.
Lethbridge had an opening for an overage player and Davis will add depth to a club that will take one last run at a league title with defenceman Calen Addison and forward Dylan Cozens on board.
The Hurricanes will lose Addison to the pro ranks next season and Cozens will likely be in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres. Both players won gold with Canada at this year’s world juniors.
Notable: This year’s WHL trading deadline is Friday at noon Mountain Time . . . The Rebels open a four-game East Division road trip Tuesday against the Prince Albert Raiders. Red Deer is in Saskatoon Wednesday and will visit Brandon and Winnipeg Friday and Saturday. The Rebels’ next home game is Jan. 18 versus Prince Albert.