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Thunderbirds swap D-Men as Reece Harsch sent to the Saskatoon Blades

The Thunderbirds continued to make trades Wednesday as defenseman Reece Harsch was sent to Saskatoon (Brian Liesse/T-Birds)

The Thunderbirds continued their roster ‘reset’ Wednesday when they shipped 19-year-old defenseman Reece Harsch to the Saskatoon Blades.

In return, the Thunderbirds receive 17-year-old defenseman Zach Ashton and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick. It was the third trade in the past two days as General Manager Bil La Forge has been busy prior to the league’s Jan. 10th trade deadline.

Originally an eighth-round draft pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, Harsch spent three seasons with Seattle and appeared in 149 games while recording 15 goals and 32 points. He had a strong rookie season in 2016-2017 and was a part of the Thunderbirds squad that won the WHL Championship in the spring of 2017.

This season he has battled injuries and has been limited to 28 games while scoring twice and adding eight assists.

In return, Seattle gets younger with Ashton, who was drafted in the third round of the 2016 Bantam Draft. He has appeared in nine games with the Blades and has one assist.

Ashton hails from Calgary and is listed at 5-foot-11 and 172 pounds. He appears to be a defenseman with some offensive upside as he put up 31 points in 35 games with the Calgary Buffaloes Midget AAA club in 2017-2018.

“We’re excited to add Zach to our roster,”  La Forge said via a press release. “He was a point a game defenseman in midget last year and is another player we are adding who has an offensive pedigree. Both Zach and Reece will get a fresh start with new teams, Reece had a good T-Birds career and we wish him the best of luck with the Blades.”

Harsch and Ashton will get a chance to face off against their respective former teams on Jan. 8th when the Thunderbirds will be in Saskatoon for a game with the Blades.