Back to the ‘Future Considerations’

By Jeff Bromley

Back to the ‘Future Considerations’

In the game of hockey, from the Junior ‘B’ level though Major Junior right up into the NHL, the practice of trading players has always been a part of the game. Not exactly earthshattering news as any hockey afficionado would tell you that it’s as much a part of the game as curved sticks and frozen discs of rubber. Hockey, unlike other major sports in North America, trading is an integral part of the sport. Likely because of the use of salary caps and advent of true free agency is more prominent in the other big three sports of Basketball, Football (NFL) and Baseball. The NFL had its trading deadline go by the other day without a single deal being made. I don’t think anyone even noticed. Whereas in hockey, trading is still a major contributing factor in composing a team and in junior it’s even more of an imposing factor. Perhaps that’s why fans of the game tend to get wrapped up in the inner workings of the sport almost as much as the actual games themselves.

Who’s going where and for what? It’s a phenomenon almost exclusive to the sport of hockey, until the trading deadline of course.

A few trades of late in the WHL have brought on some confusion to some in the sense of not ‘who’s going where’ but rather ‘who’s coming back’ or ‘wasn’t he with???’.

Confusion meaning that the players that were supposed to have already been traded have somehow ended up back with their clubs of origin and then traded again.

Just before last year’s trading deadline the Regina Pats, in building their club for an appearance in the Memorial Cup as hosts made a number of deals. One of the deals that didn’t generate much hoopla at the time because it was attached to the Pats’ obtaining the rights to Scott Hartnell and buried behind the six player deal completed with the Kamloops Blazers, was the acquisition of defenseman Ryan Thrussell from the Prince Albert Raiders for the always mysterious ‘Future Considerations’. Nothing usual about it. Trades such as this one are done all the time and usually the future considerations turn into a draft pick from the next season’s Bantam draft, sometimes being a higher or lower pick depending on certain conditions (such as how the receiving club does etc.) agreed to at the time of the deal. Thrussell, who left P.A. for personal reasons after training camp didn’t play for the Pats until the Memorial Cup, although his rights were obtained in January.

The interesting part starts about three and a half months later when the Pats open their training camp for the 2001-02 season. Missing from their camp roster is one Ryan Thrussel, a camp no-show. Again, nothing really out of the ordinary as these things happen all this time as players decide on different paths and end up not playing anymore.

About two weeks into the season Tri-Cities G.M. Bob Tory makes a deal with Prince Albert for one Ryan Thrussel. Again for the always popular future considerations. Amazingly, Thrussel is somehow back with the Raiders even though there is no league record or announcement that he was traded back to P.A. Currently the overage defenseman is in Tri-Cities and playing very well in contributing to that franchise’s turn around in the standings.

Somewhere in that player trail you can see the dilemma. On the surface, it looks as though the Regina Pats rented Thrussel for what amounted to be the Memorial Cup tournament. I could be wrong but what in the way of return went to Prince Albert for Thrussel being their property once again at the beginning of the season? If he didn’t report to Regina’s camp then wouldn’t the Pats offer him up for trade? I’m told that the reasoning is probably because of the workings of the original deal. Be that as it may, it still seems like the Pats received the services of Thrussel for what amounts to be nothing.

This season, more than others it seems, the deals around the league have been for ‘Future Considerations’ inordinately more than usual. The deal between Moose Jaw and Tri-Cities involving Scott Kelman as the principle factor ended as strangely as I’ve ever seen. Besides the fact that Scott Kelman for Americans Jon Mirasty and Justin Lucyshyn is a bad deal in the first place, the Warriors end up sending Mirasty to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and releasing Lucyshyn outright. Once again a bad deal, but the Warriors’ prerogative nonetheless. Strangely enough Lucyshyn’s rights reverted back to Tri-Cities. Who promptly trades him to Prince George for a draft pick. So what did the Warriors receive for 1999 1st-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in Scott Kelman? Nothing, on paper at least. Tony Kolewaski also received the runaround before being obtained by the Kootenay ICE. Traded to Spokane by Saskatoon, cut by Spokane, somehow manages to become property of the Blades again before being traded to the ICE.

Perhaps the Thrussell deal to Regina was legit in he was traded back to the Raiders or it was part of the original deal. Perhaps the other deals were also part of the original deal. The problem here is that were assuming and sometimes people assume the wrong things because they’re not told the whole story. Future Considerations are all fine and dandy but if a trade includes riders such as the aforementioned deals obviously did, they should be made public. It’ll look more professional and less suspect.

And less confusing.