SASKATOON – The off-season rebuild for the Saskatoon Blades continues.
On Thursday, the team traded veteran forward Lukas Sutter to the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for defenseman Kevin Pochuk and two Bantam draft picks (3rd round and 7th round in 2014).
Sutter, a Winnipeg Jets prospect, was drafted 42nd overall by the Blades in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft and went on to play 220 games with the team, scoring 45 goals and 103 points, to go along with 520 penalty minutes.
Pochuk is a 1995-born blueliner from Winnipeg. He appeared in 32 games for the Rebels last season, posting two goals and five points, with 10 penalty minutes.
This was the second trade this week made by the Blades. On Wednesday, the team traded enforcer Jessey Astles to the Tri-City Americans for a conditional 6th round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.
Astles appeared in 22 regular season games for the Blades last season after being acquired in a trade from the Kelowna Rockets in 2012. But a gruesome wrist injury in November caused Astles to miss 50 games. He made his inspirational return late in the season, and saw limited playing time in the Blades’ first-round playoff loss to Medicine Hat.
These two trades mark the second and third trades since the Blades’ off-season began. Just days after their Memorial Cup exit, Saskatoon traded defenseman Dalton Thrower to the Vancouver Giants for a conditional 2nd round draft pick.
Thrower, a Montreal Canadiens draft pick, spent the last four seasons with the Blades, appearing in 243 regular season games. He registered 30 goals, 108 points and 344 penalty minutes over that span.
The Blades are now left with 12 players born in 1993 and can only keep three of them for the 2013-14 season. More trades are expected to be coming shortly.