By Andy Eide
With training camp just a few short weeks away, the Seattle Thunderbirds announced a trade on Wednesday afternoon.
Seattle sent 18 year old forward Lane Pederson and a conditional 2017 fifth round draft pick to the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for 18 year old goalie Taz Burman. The trade frees up some congestion amongst the T-Birds’ forward group and adds to the competition in net.
Burman spent the past two seasons with the Rebels and appeared in 38 games. Last year he compiled a 9-5-2 record to go along with a save percentage of .890 and a 3.08 goals-against-average. He began the year on the radar of the NHL’s Central Scouting – appearing on their Future’s List. Despite that, he did not get selected in this June’s NHL Draft.
Pederson spent his first full year with Seattle last season, appearing in 63 games where he scored eight goals while adding 12 assists. He also garnered an invite this summer to the Anaheim Ducks development camp.
“We just thought that we needed to hedge our bets in regards to our goaltending next year,” Seattle general manager Russ Farwell said of the trade Wednesday afternoon. “(Burman’s) been fighting for that spot in Red Deer and hadn’t gotten a chance there and we think he’s ready to push through and have that role, it looks like a good move for us.”
Burman started the year with Red Deer playing for the Rebels number one spot which he would evenentually lose to Rylan Toth. Toth got hot and ended the year with a stellar 2.84 goals against average for the Rebels and therefore, got the majority of the playing time. But Farwell says Burman’s reputation is that of a hard worker and the team got nothing but positive feedback on him while researching and scouting his play.
With Ryan Gilchrist and Logan Flodell also coming to training camp this move gives the team more depth in net than they’ve had in quite some time. Flodell got into a handful of games last season after being recalled to Seattle late in the year and was impressive in his nine appearances backing up Taran Kozun. Farwell is quick to point out that this move is by no means any kind of knock on Flodell but felt that they needed to get their goaltending depth to match that of the rest of the team.
As for who will be the number one guy, Farwell says ultimately that will be head coach Steve Konowalchuk’s decision and they have high expectations for both players.
“We think Flodell is ready to play more than he did last year and that we’re going to have good quality goaltending,” he said. “We’re expecting Burman to come and be a real candidate to be our starting guy, but we’re expecting a competition.”
Giving up a player with the skill and potential as Pederson is tough but in order to make a move like this, someone had to go the other way. Farwell had turned down offers for Pederson in the past but the team now has a log jam at forward, especially with their 18 year old group, so it made some sense to move someone from that set.
“It was hard to trade Pederson,” Farwell said. “I believe he’s going to be a real good player in our league. I think his best is really to come but we had to give something up…We’ve got some young guys that are knocking on the door and it looked like we could afford to do it.”
There had been some speculation that Seattle might look to bring in a 20 year old goalie for this coming year. While there are some available in the league, trading for one would mean that the T-Birds would have to move one of Jamal Watson, Jerret Smith or Jared Hauf – a prospect that Farwell wasn’t excited about.
“We really like the three and to have to push Watson or one of our D out was not attractive — It would be a blow,” he said. “I think it makes by far a stronger team with them, we didn’t want that taken away from us.”
The goaltending situation was going to be a story line already heading into training camp later in the month – it just got more interesting.
Follow Andy Eide on Twitter @andyeide.