The Regina Pats made a move for the future on Thursday, as the team announced they have traded Captain Jake Leschyshyn and leading-scorer Nick Henry to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
General Manager John Paddock served as head coach when Leschyshyn and Henry began their tenure with the Pats, and made the trade that sees two players and up to seven picks come the other way.
He said the timing was right to make a big trade like this.
“I’ve been on both sides of trying to acquire people early, like last year like Cale (Fleury) earlier than we did,” Paddock said. “Some go to the deadline, and some don’t, like it’s just a matter of when you want to act, and it takes two teams to act.
“Two teams that meet each other’s needs.”
An emotional Head Coach Dave Struch also spoke to the media about the trade. He said the Hurricanes not only acquired great players, but great people, too.
“Every aspect that you want in a young adult hockey player, that was them.”
Before leaving for Lethbridge, Leschyshyn and Henry were seen hugging now-former teammates before heading out the door. Some former teammates spoke about the trade, including long-time teammate Liam Schoiler, who said it’s tough to see them go.
“Those guys have been here, Jake especially, he’s been here the whole time I’ve been here, and then Nick came here my second year here too, so I’ve gotten to know them really well, and become close with them,” Schoiler said. “It’s never easy seeing guys like that leave, and they’re a big part of the room and we’re going to have to fill that gap now.”
Austin Pratt was line mates with both Leschyshyn and Henry. He said it’ll be tough to rebuild the chemistry he had with them on the ice.
“(They’re) unbelievable in the dressing room, what you saw on the ice spoke about what they could do on the ice and just getting to play with them, it’s been the best couple of months of my career in the WHL,” Pratt said. “I’ve never had so much fun every night, and they’re just unbelievable guys.”
Defenceman Brady Pouteau is a former Hurricane himself, and said he was able to speak about his experience with his two departing teammates.
“Since it was Lethbridge, I had played there for a bit, so I told them what I experienced and what it was like for me,” Pouteau said. “We kind of had a feeling that something was going to happen this year, so they knew something was going to happen and we kind of talked about it here and there, once in a while.”
In return for Leschyshyn and Henry, the Pats receive 19 year-old forward Jadon Joseph, and 18 year-old forward Ty Kolle. The Pats will also receive the following draft picks:
1st round draft pick, 2019
1st round draft pick, 2020 (Swift Current)
3rd round draft pick, 2019
4th round draft pick, 2022
8th round draft pick, 2019 (Swift Current)
The Pats will also receive two conditional draft picks if Leschyshyn and Henry return to the Hurricanes next season.
Regina kicks off a three games in three nights stretch on Friday night when they visit the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Pats return home Saturday to take on Prince Albert, and also host Medicine Hat on Sunday.