By Carter Brooks
Photo by Laurie Anderson
The Winnipeg Blues and Steinbach Pistons have put together one of the largest trades in recent memory.
After squaring off in the first round of the 2019 Manitoba Junior Hockey League postseason, the Blues and Pistons' ownership groups engaged themselves in trade talks early this offseason, with the two sides coming together on a massive 10-player deal in mid-June.
Go to the Pistons are forwards Ty Naakens (Winnipeg, 2001) and Cody Behun (Winnipeg, 2000), as well as defenceman Dylan Cassie (Winnipeg, 1999). The Blues acquired forwards Tayem Gislason (Winnipeg, 2003), Aeden Loshiavo (Winnipeg, 2002), Brayden Clark (Winnipeg, 2001) and Logan Danis (Winnipeg, 2002), in addition to defencemen Carter Bateman (Stonewall, 2002), Connor Tyhy (Winnipeg, 2001) and Austen McIvor (Winnipeg, 2001).
The deal gives Winnipeg a handful of young pieces to be used in the future, as the seven prospects packaged from Steinbach have a combined five games of MJHL experience under their belt. Gislason, Bateman, Tyhy, McIvor and Danis played in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League, while Loshiavo and Clark, spent the last number of years in AAA.
The Pistons acquired three point-producing veterans, as Cassie - the lone defenceman coming Steinbach's way - had seven goals and 30 points in 57 regular season games in Winnipeg, while forwards Ty Naaykens and Codey Behun put up 40 and 39 points, respectively. All three of the Pistons' acquisitions were on the ice as Blues for the 2019 postseason defeat to Steinbach. Behun collected two goals and seven points in the six-game series, while Naaykens had a goal and four points. Cassie put up two helpers for Winnipeg.
Steinbach finished the 2018-19 season with a third place 39-17-4 record, while Winnipeg ended the regular season in sixth place by going 31-22-7 - a difference of 13 points. The Pistons beat up the Blues in six games in the opening round of the postseason, before having their playoff run come to an end at the hands of the eventual league runner-up Swan Valley Stampeders, also in six games. The 2019-20 season gets underway on Friday, September 20th, as the Pistons play host to the Winkler Flyers, while the Blues take on the Terriers in Portage.