Cyle McNabb — traded twice in four days — was barely with the Kootenay Ice long enough to get to know his teammates.
“It all happened so quick,” admitted McNabb, who practised with the Blades for the first time Thursday.
“I’m ready to settle in here and I’m excited.”
He found out about the trade on Monday night in Cranbrook, packed up his car and arrived in Saskatoon late Wednesday night.
“I’m pretty excited to be here,” said McNabb, who makes his Blades debut Friday night (7 p.m.) against the Calgary Hitmen at SaskTel Centre.
Last Friday, McNabb had been dealt to the Ice from the Vancouver Giants in exchange for 20-year-old defenceman Dallas Hines. He quickly got in three games with Kootenay, picking up one assist and two penalty minutes, before being sent to Saskatoon.
“At first, I was a little surprised, but it’s all part of the game,” offered McNabb, a native of Winnipeg, Man.. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about the city and organization. I’m very excited to get things started with the Blades.”
McNabb, a 6-foot-1, 191-pound forward who can play either wing or centre, has a couple of familiar faces on the Blades. McNabb is a former teammate of Tristen Robins with the Rink Hockey Academy, where he recorded 25 points — nine goals and 16 assists — in 29 games during the 2016-17 Canadian Sport School Hockey League season.
And he also knows Eric Florchuk from the past couple of years.
“I played against him and went to some camps with him,” said McNabb. “I’ve got to get to know a lot of new guys and I’m excited for that.”
McNabb will also get to know the WHL’s Eastern Conference and East Division after nearly two years in the Western Conference and B.C. Division.
“So I’m excited to switch things up and get to know the conference pretty well,” said McNabb, who has 104 games of WHL experience, including six playoff games with the Giants, after making his WHL debut last season.
“I’ve just got to play my game,” he said of his role with the Blades. “Obviously they like me for a reason. I’m just going to get pucks in, fore-check, shoot the puck and play the body — that’s how I play.”
WHEELING AND DEALING
The Blades have made a series moves this season, many of them long before Thursday’s deadline.
To recap, the Blades have brought in defencemen Brandon Schuldhaus, Nolan Kneen and Reece Harsch along with forwards Gary Haden, Zach Huber, McNabb and Ryan Hughes on Thursday.
The team has parted ways with D-men Jackson Caller, Jake Kustra, Zach Ashton and Seth Bafaro plus forwards Michael Farren, Logan Christensen, Bradley Goethals, Brady Nicholas, Logan Doust, Josh Paterson and Machado.
During the off-season, the Blades brought in forward Riley McKay and CHL import draftees Kristian Roykas-Marthinsen and Emil Malysjev. They said goodbye to forwards Alec Zawatsky, Caleb Fantillo, Gage Ramsay and Tyler Lees along with defenceman Mark Rubinchik, plus overage graduates Evan Fiala, Braylon Shmyr and Tyler Brown.
BLADE BITS: Two members of the Blades celebrated their birthdays at the trade deadline and remain with the team. Forward Eric Florchuk turned 19 and goalie Nolan Maier became 18 on Thursday.
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