CHL Notebook: Silvertips acquire Cole Fonstad in blockbuster deal

Prince Albert Raiders' Cole Fonstad (24) slips the puck past Rouyn-Noranda Huskies goalie Samuel Harvey for a first period marker during Memorial Cup. (Tim Krochak/CP)

The defending Western Hockey League champion Prince Albert Raiders made headlines on Sunday by moving Montreal Canadiens prospect Cole Fonstad, a key piece to their title run last season, to the Everett Silvertips.

In return, the Raiders acquired forward Reece Vitelli and three draft picks, including a second- and a fourth-rounder in 2021 along with a conditional third in 2022.

Fonstad scored 29 goals and 73 points in 67 games last season with the Raiders.

“Cole Fonstad is a proven talent who has the tools to make a positive impact with us and fill our immediate needs offensively,” Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson said in a statement. “He’s a shifty, prolific forward with a high level of skill and his track record of experience with a WHL title, World Junior Summer Showcase invite and status as a Montreal Canadiens drafted prospect sets an example for a core of our younger players looking to elevate their game.”

For the Raiders, adding an 18-year-old in Vitelli gives the team a young player who has already played in 144 career WHL games.

Senior Writer Ryan Dixon and NHL Editor Rory Boylen always give it 110%, but never rely on clichés when it comes to podcasting. Instead, they use a mix of facts, fun and a varied group of hockey voices to cover Canada’s most beloved game.

“Reece is a young centre with a lot of experience,” Raiders general manager Curtis Hunt said in a statement. “He has versatility that allows him to move throughout our lineup and he plays with a tremendous amount of speed. We think with his style of game, he’ll adapt quickly to our style of play.”

While on the topic of trades, the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds traded for defenceman Owen Lalonde over the weekend from the Guelph Storm. Flint had already acquired goaltender Anthony Popovich from Guelph earlier this season.

Lalonde, who won an OHL title with the Storm last season, joins a blue line in Flint that already features Florida Panthers second-round pick Vladislav Kolyachonok and Arizona Coyotes prospect Dennis Busby.

Lalonde had seven goals and 41 points in 68 games last season for the Storm and added 10 points in 24 playoff games.

In exchange for Lalonde, the Firebirds dealt defenceman Michael Bianconi, two second-round picks, a conditional second-round pick and a conditional fifth-round selection to the Storm.

Jake Grimes is making the most of his first opportunity to be a head coach in the Canadian Hockey League.

The 47-year-old was named coach of the Cape Breton Eagles over the summer and the Eagles have jumped out to a 7-3-0 start to the season.

Grimes spent 15 seasons in the OHL as an assistant/associate coach before making the move to join the Eagles. His OHL stops included Guelph, Peterborough and Belleville for 11 seasons.

The OHL’s Niagara IceDogs received word on Sunday that veteran forward Ivan Lodnia was being returned to junior hockey by the NHL’s Minnesota Wild for his overage season.

Selected by the Wild in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft, Lodnia was acquired by the IceDogs prior to the 2018-19 season and had 45 points in 41 regular season games before adding 14 points in 11 playoff games.

The move leaves the IceDogs with four overage players on the roster, which also includes winger Oliver Castleman and defencemen Elijah Roberts and Drew Hunter.

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