The Dauphin Kings didn't make a splash during the CJHL trade deadline yesterday, but they did make a couple deals that should improve the team this season and going forward into future seasons as well.
In their first deal of the day, Dauphin traded George King to Melfort for future considerations and they followed that up by acquiring 20-year-old Stephon Perreault from the La Ronge Ice Wolves in exchange for Brendan Benoit.
The Kings then received 15-year-old Slade Stanick and 19-year-old Brayden Pawluk from the Virden Oil Capitals in exchange for 19-year-old Jacob Evans. The final trade saw 20-year-old Wayde Johannesson shipped to Selkirk along with future considerations and the Kings received future considerations in return.
"Both Perreault and Pawluk are right-handed shots and we needed that on the back end and they both have experience in our league," said Doug Hedley, Head Coach, and GM. "It's kind of a sideways move to a certain extent but it secures our future a little bit going forward into next year."
"Whether the future considerations on all of the deals are cash or personnel, they will definitely help us next year," he added.
Dauphin is now back at it tonight as they welcome the Portage Terriers to town. The Kings are 19-18-2-2 and are in a tie for sixth place in the MJHL entering tonight with the Winnipeg Blues, but they're only five points behind Virden for fifth and seven back of the fourth place Selkirk Steelers.
The Kings have a pretty favourable schedule going forward as far as playing games on home ice. 13 of the Kings remaining 19 games are at Credit Union Place including six of the next seven.
"Our goal is to win as many games as we can and we want to be as high as we can in the standings," said Hedley. "We feel that we have a good young group of players that work hard and want to do good things. Our schedule definitely favours us, we just need to make our arena a tough place to play in and get as many wins as we can."
10 of Dauphin's 19 remaining games come against either Portage, Swan Valley, Selkirk, or Steinbach (all are top four). One is against Virden (fifth) and one is against Winnipeg (tied with Dauphin). Dauphin also plays the 10th place OCN Blizzard and 11th place Neepawa Natives once more each. If the Kings are able to get on any sort of a streak like they had earlier this campaign when they had at least a point in eight straight games, they have a very good chance of jumping up in the standings.
Test #1 is only hours away against the 31-6-1-1 Terriers. It's the third of six meetings between the clubs this campaign. Dauphin has lost 8-2 and 4-3 in the previous two. Portage has scored 14 goals in January so far and they have only given up four.
"We have to make sure we're ready to jump on loose pucks, we have to win battles and we have to win races," said Hedley. "Our defenders have to do a good job of getting the puck up to forwards quickly and we have to move quickly through the neutral zone."
"Portage is really good on the rush and they have a lot of young guys who are scoring this year," he added. The puck drops at 7:30 tonight.
After this weekend, the Kings will get a nice little break as they won't play again until January 18. Four players will play on Monday and Tuesday though as they head to Regina for the MJHL/SJHL Showcase. Doug Hedley will serve as an assistant coach for team Belfour and Devin Atkin will serve as the support staff for the same team.