THUNDERBIRDS

Thunderbirds solve overage situation by trading Cavin Leth to Prince Albert

Oct 20, 2016, 8:44 PM
Cavin Leth quickly established himself as a leader with the T-Birds after being acquired last seaso...
Cavin Leth quickly established himself as a leader with the T-Birds after being acquired last season (T-Birds photo)
(T-Birds photo)

The Seattle Thunderbirds pared their roster down to the league maximum of three overage players by dealing 20-year-old wing Cavin Leth and a seventh-round Bantam Draft pick to the Prince Albert Raiders in exchange for 18-year-old wing Zack Andrusiak and a third-round pick in the 2018 Bantam Draft.

Seattle’s hands were tied following the unexpected return of left wing Ryan Gropp from the New York Rangers two weeks ago. It appeared that Seattle’s three 20-year-olds had been decided during training camp following the acquisition of goaltender Rylan Toth, along with returnees Leth and captain Scott Eansor.

When Gropp was sent back, it seemed that Leth was the odd man out. Seattle invested heavily in acquiring Toth, including trading away expected starter Logan Flodell, and Eansor had just been named captain. Gropp, of course, has been one of Seattle’s best offensive players for the past three years and for a team that is currently starving for goals, trading him wouldn’t make much sense.

That doesn’t make the sting of losing Leth any less painful, however. As a trade deadline acquisition last season, it initially appeared that the Taber, Alta. native was in for a short stint with the T-Birds. But Leth played well down the stretch and into the playoffs, developing nice chemistry with Alexander True, and proved to be an effective penalty killer and locker room leader.

At no point was Leth’s spot on the roster a given, but he fought tooth and nail since arriving in Seattle to make the decision difficult for the front office. He was favored by his teammates and the coaching staff as made evident by the fact that he had an “A” stitched onto his jersey after playing in only 55 total games with Seattle.

In return, Seattle receives Andrusiak, who has 15 games of WHL experience under his belt and one goal and one assist, as well as a future third-round draft pick. Seattle currently has only two forwards in the 1998-born class — Nolan Volcan and Owen Seidel — so this move helps fill out that age group. Because every team in the league knew that the T-Birds had to make a move in the next couple of days, they weren’t exactly in a position with high bargaining power.

Seattle’s roster has seen significant change early in the season, but this move begins the process of finalizing the team that they’ll move forward with. There are other questions that remain unanswered, but having this situation cleared up should help them move forward and begin to develop the chemistry that they’ve struggled to find early on.

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