CHL Notebook: Major trade between Giants, Tigers makes immediate impact

Former head coach of the Vancouver Canucks Willie Desjardins. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

The Vancouver Giants and Medicine Hat Tigers made some noise in the Western Hockey League over the weekend as the clubs hooked up on a major trade.

Coming off a run to the WHL final last season, the Giants have struggled of late, losing three in a row as they prepared for a game on Sunday against the Tri-City Americans.

On Saturday, the team completed a deal with the Tigers that saw the Giants send overage defenceman Dylan Plouffe, winger Lukas Svejkovsky, a third round pick in 2020 and a conditional third in 2021 to Medicine Hat.

In return, the Giants acquired overage forward Tyler Preziuso, defenceman Trevor Longo, a first-round pick in 2020 and a conditional fifth rounder in 2021.

Vancouver general manager Barclay Parneta called Preziuso and Longo “highly-respected, experience players” in a statement.

Preziuso had nine goals and 22 points in 28 games with Medicine Hat prior to the deal and it immediately paid dividends as the veteran forward had a pair of goals for the Giants in a 4-1 win over Tri-City on Sunday.

As the Tigers battled for top spot in the WHL’s Central Division with the Edmonton Oil Kings, Plouffe brings Medicine Hat a veteran defenceman who has posted strong numbers offensively this season. He had five goals and 22 points in 28 games for the Giants before the deal and 16 points during their playoff run last season.

Medicine Hat general manager and coach Willie Desjardins said Plouffe and Svejkovsky were players the team had high interest in.

“We think they will step in and be a part of our culture right away,” Desjardins said in a release. “They are both excellent offensive players who were key contributors on a team that went to the WHL finals last year.”

UPS AND DOWNS OF A LONG SEASON

It’s been a season of ups and downs for a number of teams in the Ontario Hockey League this season.

As the schedule inches closer to the midway point, a lot of teams have gone on lengthy hot and cold streaks over the first two-plus months of the season.

Take the Sarnia Sting for example.

The team started the regular season with seven-straight losses before following it up by winning 10 of 11 to get back into the mix in the standings.

The team has fallen off a bit since that hot stretch, having gone 3-7-0 in its last 10 following weekend action.

WRIGHT STUFF

After entering the OHL Priority Selection a year early as an exceptional player, Shane Wright’s play has backed up the opportunity with the Kingston Frontenacs.

The 15-year-old has been a point-per-game player in the league since making the jump. With 14 goals and 25 points in 24 games, Wright currently leads all rookie scorers in the OHL.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

In the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, it’s hard not to feel good about the play of Shawinigan Cataractes goaltender Antoine Coulombe.

The sophomore netminder struggled on a Shawinigan team that went 14-49-2-3 last season, posting just four wins in 41 appearances.

Coulombe wasted little time this season improving on his numbers from his rookie year and has won six of his last seven starts en route to a 14-6-0 record in 23 appearances this season. His goals-against average has been among the best in the league all season, currently sitting at 2.66.

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