The T-Birds made a move immediately after returning from the holiday break on Tuesday, announcing the acquisition of defenseman Aaron Hyman from the Calgary Hitmen in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2018 Bantam Draft.
Hyman, who stands at 6 feet 5 inches and weighs 215 pounds, has registered two goals and ten assists in 74 career WHL games. He played in three playoff games during the 2015-16 season and did not register a point.
Despite his intimidating size, Hyman is not a player who spends a lot of time in the penalty box as you might expect, tallying just 23 penalty minutes in his career and ten this season.
At 18 years old, Hyman was passed over in his first year of NHL-Draft eligibility. However, he received an invite to Calgary Flames camp at the end of the summer, so he is a player who will be watched closely by scouts over the second half of this season and next year.
“We wanted to strengthen our defense for the second half of the season” said T-Birds general manager Russ Farwell in a press release announcing the trade. Seattle struggled early in the season offensively, but saw their scoring numbers increase when their entire forward corps — including Mathew Barzal, Ryan Gropp and Keegan Kolesar — were all in the lineup.
After the offseason departures of Jared Hauf and Jerret Smith, Seattle’s defense has not been what it was last season. They’re giving up approximately a half goal more per game than they did during the regular season last year when they eventually advanced to the league finals.
In news that is likely related, Bryan Allbee is no longer listed on the Seattle roster. Allbee, 19, had a good training camp and looked like he might work himself into a consistent spot in Seattle’s top six, but that didn’t materialize during the regular season as he continued to rotate between the bottom defensive pairing and a spot as a fourth-line wing. No official announcement has been made, but it seems likely that Allbee sought more playing time and a more consistent role in what may be his final WHL season.
Additionally, Layne Bensmiller, whom Seattle acquired in the offseason from the Prince Albert Raiders in exchange for Nic Holowko, is also no longer listed on the T-Birds roster. Bensmiller, 19, had been dealing with a lower body injury for almost the entirety of the season, playing in just seven games and scoring one goal.