In exchange, the Blades sent 19-year-old defenceman Jackson Caller to the Blazers along with second- and third-round picks in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.
Kneen, who hails from Duncan, B.C., has recorded four goals and 16 assists for 20 points in 22 games played this season. His offensive ability is one of the reasons the Blades made the move and his right-handed shot is also a welcome addition to a team that has frequently iced a lineup featuring only one right-handed shooting defender this season.
“We’ve always been keeping our eye on getting a right-shot defenceman, especially one that could play next year,” Blades general manager Colin Priestner said.
“He’s a hard-nosed kid, too. He plays a (Dion) Phaneuf-type game, he makes some big hits and he can score and we just really felt with losing (overage defenceman Dawson) Davidson at the end of the year offensively, he’s a leader back there for us, (and) this is a kid that can take the ball and run with it.”
The 20 points recorded by Kneen this season place him eighth among WHL defencemen, while Davidson is fourth with 26 points in 25 games.
Caller, a Kamloops native, posted decent offensive numbers in 2017-18 with the Blades, putting up 26 points in 70 games, but struggled to find consistency this season, tallying just two points – both goals – in 20 contests.
Both of the draft picks included in the deal were acquired by the Blades in previous trades. The second-round selection came from the Regina Pats in a blockbuster deal at last season’s trade deadline while the third-round pick was obtained from the Kelowna Rockets earlier this season in a trade that saw forward Michael Farren join the Rockets.
Kneen will make his Blades debut Tuesday night when the team visits the Vancouver Giants on the second stop of a five-game B.C. road trip.