Rockets acquire former PA leading scorer Gardiner
The Kelowna Rockets have made a splash, completing three trades today in advance of Tuesday's trade deadline.
The first trade brings 20-year-old Reid Gardiner to the Rockets, by way of the Prince Albert Raiders, in exchange for one first round and two fifth round draft picks.
Gardiner is the older brother of Rockets rookie Erik Gardiner, and had been playing in the AHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins' farm team in Wilkes Barre/Scranton, after putting up 92 points in 71 games for the Raiders last year.
In a statement, Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton says the move adds a key piece that the Rockets have been missing this season.
"We had an opportunity to acquire one of the league's best scorers over the last few seasons. He has been playing in the AHL, but will be coming to Kelowna to play for the Rockets. He's excited about the opportunity to play for a competitive team with high end teammates and with his brother Erik," he said.
"For us he brings something we've been missing in that he's a pure shooter. We're in arguably the toughest division in the WHL so he adds more depth to our roster. It was a big price to pay but we feel we owe it to our fans to compete again this year."
In an off-setting move, the Rockets traded fifth-year overage forward Riley Stadel to the Edmonton Oil Kings, in exchange for a fifth round pick.
Over 270 games in a Rockets uniform, Stadel recorded 105 points.
Hamilton says this move was a rough one to make.
"Because of the acquisition of (Gardiner), we had to make room to get back down to three. This was an extremely tough decision for us. Riley has been a heart and soul guy for us for a long time now," he said.
"He epitomizes what a good guy and a great teammate is. He has impeccable character and this is a significant loss. It won't be easy news for his teammates to hear."
Finally, the Rockets sent 18-year-old forward Jordan Borstmayer to the Vancouver Giants in exchange for a conditional fifth round draft pick.
The second-year Rocket had put up 12 points in 96 games for Kelowna.
Hamilton says this is the right move for Borstmayer to develop.
"It was just a situation where we felt it would be beneficial for both sides if Borstmayer had a change of scenery. He deserves more ice time and by circumstance he wasn't able to get it here. We wish Jordan all the best in Vancouver," he said.
The team says Gardiner is expected to be in the Kelowna lineup when the Rockets and Kamloops Blazers tangle at Prospera Place Saturday night.