The man in charge of one of the BCHL’s top clubs is taking and making phone calls as the trade deadline draws near.
Chilliwack Chiefs hockey boss has until Jan. 10 to make any deals, and he’s already done one.
On Monday (Jan. 3) the junior A club picked up a 20-year-old defenceman, acquiring Anthony Allepot from the Penticton Vees in return for future considerations. Allepot takes the roster spot formerly occupied by Lucas Bourdon, a 2003-born blueliner who was traded to the Powell River Kings on New Years Eve.
Maloney’s Allepot deal was part upgrade and part insurance.
Defenceman Thomas Messineo remains out with a broken jaw, and while he’s expected to return at some point, Maloney doesn’t want to rush him.
“And with the COVID world we’re living in, you never know when kids are going to be healthy or sick, so we felt it was important to jump on adding depth on the back end,” he said.
In 27 games with Penticton, Allepot collected one goal and 11 points.
“It’s a big addition for us to get more experience, get bigger, get meaner and put ourselves in a position where we’ll be very hard to play against,” Maloney said of the six-foot-three and 191 pound defender.
Trading with the Vees is interesting. Not often do you see a team like Penticton trade a solid veteran defender for futures.
“Fred (Penticton hockey boss Harbinson) was in a situation where he had to move out a 20-year-old and had to move out a defenceman, and it just happened to be Anthony,” Maloney said. “He was handcuffed, but he also wanted to what’s right for the kid. He wanted to move him to a team that has a chance at winning it all, and he feels we have that chance. And he understands we won’t be facing each other this year because we won’t see any Interior team until the final.
“And he said that if we do meet in the final, it is what it is.”
BCHL clubs were active well before the deadline, with 10 swaps being completed between Dec. 29 and Jan. 3.
But with only the Merritt Centennials buried in the standings and truly out of the playoff race, no one’s in fire-sale mode. That makes finding a seller difficult.
“Back in the day there was a big difference between the top teams and the bottom teams, but now pretty much every team makes the playoffs,” Maloney said. “And the league is pretty balanced. You just have to get in the playoffs and anything can happen, and a lot of teams know that.”
Maloney said he’ll listen to offers and may pursue another forward, but he isn’t desperate to make a move.
“I’m not going to sell the farm, because we have a lot of youth on this team,” he said. “We want to continue to grow that and they’ll be a big part of this next year. As a head coach, I care about my players and I want to play everyone and I don’t want to move anyone. But when I have the general manager hat on, it’s about putting the best team together on paper.
“If I don’t make a move, I’ll be happy about it because we have a good mix of everything, but if I can add a forward I’ll listen to what other teams have to say.”
– The Chiefs have two games on the schedule this weekend.
They’re on the road tonight (Friday, Jan. 7) visiting the Surrey Eagles (14-12-0-0) at the South Surrey Arena, then it’s back home for a Saturday nighter against the Wenatchee Wild (9-11-4-1) at the Chilliwack Coliseum.
Puck drop for that one is 7 p.m.
Chilliwack sports a record of 15-8-0-2 through 25 games, putting them third in the Coastal Conference, five points behind the Langley Rivermen with two games in hand. Nanaimo is holding down second spot, four points ahead of Chilliwack.