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Saskatoon Blades trade Gary Haden to Victoria Royals

The Saskatoon Blades have traded for defenceman Scott Walford from the Victoria Royals for forwards Gary Haden (pictured) and Riley Gannon. File / Global News

A trade was made on Wednesday to bolster the Saskatoon Blades’ blueline for the upcoming Western Hockey League (WHL) season.

The Victoria Royals have sent defenceman Scott Walford, a seventh-round draft pick in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft and a conditional pick to the Blades.

In exchange, Victoria acquired centre Blades centre Gary Haden, the rights to unsigned prospect Riley Gannon, a fourth-round pick in 2022 and a conditional pick from Saskatoon.

READ MORE: Nelson Nogier signs with Winnipeg Jets

“Deals like this are never easy to make, especially in the summer,” Blades’ general manager Colin Priestner said in a press release.

“But the chance to acquire one of the very best defenceman in the Western Hockey League was too good to pass up given we felt defence was the biggest single area we needed to address for the upcoming season.”

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Throughout his entire WHL career with the Royals, Walford has notched 18 goals and 102 assists in 229 regular-season games as well as 13 points in 24 playoff games.

The B.C. native was selected 68th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2017 NHL Draft. He also attended the Winnipeg Jets’ summer development camp this past June.

WATCH (May 29, 2019): 3 prospects signed by Saskatoon Blades

Click to play video: '3 prospects signed by Saskatoon Blades' 3 prospects signed by Saskatoon Blades
3 prospects signed by Saskatoon Blades – May 29, 2019

The Blades franchise thanked Haden for his time and contributions during his season in Saskatoon and wished him major success with Victoria in his 20-year-old campaign.

“With the strong group of defencemen coming to camp this year, it is the offensive side of our game that we felt needed addressing,” Royals president and general manager Cameron Hope said in a statement.

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“Gary will bolster our forward group. He is a dynamic forward who will certainly add a dimension to a well-rounded group.”

The Alberta native has played in 170 career WHL games, split between the Blades and the Medicine Hat Tigers, and has tallied 55 goals and 60 assists.

In another trade made on the same day, Victoria received a conditional draft pick from the Blades for 18-year-old Parker Malchuk. The defenceman, who hails from Manitoba, played in 56 games for the Royals and collected one assist and 10 penalty minutes last season.

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