Crnkovic and Roulette swap places in blockbuster between Blades and Thunderbirds – WHL Network
The Seattle Thunderbirds and Saskatoon Blades caused a stir on Tuesday ahead of the opening of WHL training camps, as 2002-born forward Kyle Crnkovic was traded to Seattle in exchange for the 2003-born forward Conner Roulette and a 2026 third-round pick.
Crnkovic proved to be one of the Eastern Conference’s most dangerous weapons during the 2021-22 WHL regular season, leading the Blades in scoring with 94 points (39G-55A) in 68 games. and earning a spot in the WHL East Division. – All-star team. Crnkovic’s 94 points were good enough for fifth in the WHL regular season scoring race, as the 5-foot-7, 166-pound left-winger was one of seven WHL players to hit the 90-point plateau last season.
“We want to thank Conner for his time with the Seattle Thunderbirds,” said Thunderbirds general manager Bil La Forge. “Every time you have the opportunity to add a player of Crnkovic’s caliber, it ends up costing a guy from the roster. Conner is a great player, and we wish him all the best with the Blades.
Roulette, who was selected by the Dallas Stars in the fourth round (111th overall) of the 2021 NHL Draft, finished third in scoring on a strong Thunderbirds team, collecting 66 points (24G-42A) in 65 games last season. The 6-foot, 177-pound left-winger was a valuable contributor for a Seattle team that qualified for Game 6 of the 2022 WHL Championship Series, recording 18 points (5G-13A) in 25 appearances .
“Conner is a player we’ve coveted for many years,” Blades general manager Colin Priestner said. “He has incredible vision, a very high level of skill and has performed extremely well both at the WHL level and representing Canada on multiple occasions.
“We think he’s going to be a big fan favorite with his style of play and his talent for showpieces. Being only 19, we are lucky to have him not only this season, but maybe next. He will be a great ambassador for the Aboriginal community in Saskatchewan and has been recognized in Manitoba as Aboriginal Athlete of the Year. We can’t wait to welcome him to the Blades family this week at training camp.
Originally selected by the Thunderbirds in the second round (34th overall) of the 2018 WHL Draft, Roulette – a Winnipeg product – has 117 points (49G-68A) in 131 regular season games since entering the league. WHL in 2019-20.
Crnkovic, a product of Chestermere, Alta., was originally a first-round pick (10th overall) of the Blades in the 2017 WHL Draft. In 210 regular season outings in the WHL, he scored 221 points (81G-140A). In 15 playoff appearances, Crnkovic has recorded nine points (4G-5A).
“Kyle has been a fantastic Blade for four years and has been a big part of the turnaround we’ve had over the past five years,” Priestner said. “It’s never easy to get a deal like this done, but it’s a hockey trade and we’re thrilled to acquire a very talented 19-year-old drafted into the NHL and simultaneously release a room for a 20 year old player an extra upgrade. We wish Kyle success in Seattle and thank him for his years in the Blades uniform, and we look forward to welcoming Conner Roulette and his family to our team and helping him achieve his goal of signing a contract with the NHL team that drafted him.
The defending Western Conference champion Thunderbirds, along with Crnkovic, will kick off the 2022-23 WHL regular season on the road on Friday, Sept. 23 as they visit the Vancouver Giants at the Langley Events Center. Seattle’s home opener is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1 when the Giants make the return trip south of the border to access the ShoWare Center.
Roulette and the Blades also open the campaign on the road, visiting rival Prince Albert Raiders on Friday, September 23. .