You could excuse Barclay Parneta for making a panicky trade.
He’s a first-year general manager with a Vancouver Giants team that, at 20-6-2-0, is off to the franchise’s best start since Evander Kane, Craig Cunningham, Brendan Gallagher and a host of other names familiar to Giants fans went 23-2-0-3 to kick off the 2008-09 season.
This Vancouver team carries a six-game winning streak into its Teddy Bear Toss game on Saturday at its old Pacific Coliseum digs against the Victoria Royals.
The Giants haven’t won a playoff series since 2009-10. Adding another forward and maybe another defenceman via a swap prior to the Jan. 10 trade deadline would up their odds of breaking that post-season skid this spring.
Prices just happen to be through the roof right now. The Red Deer Rebels, who are 17-9-2-0, dealt four players and five bantam draft picks (when you count a conditional 2022 third rounder) to the Kootenay Ice for two players on Nov 30. The day before, the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who are 15-8-3-2, landed two players from the Regina Pats in exchange for two players and seven picks, including conditional third rounders in both 2021 and 2022.
Parneta maintains that the Giants will not be reactionary. He maintains they won’t sell out for this year alone. In other words, they’re not going to put all their eggs in this basket after having a couple of shells, parts of a yolk and a droopy carrier with holes for much of the past few years.
Next year, Vancouver will lose a good chunk of that 2014 bantam draft that it has been building around, but its competitive window should remain open.
Parneta does come from the scouting side of the hockey building equation. He was the Tri-City Americans’ head scout for years before signing on with the Giants last off-season. You could see him being a little more hesitant to deal away picks than a GM with a coaching background.
Vancouver gave up its 2019 first rounder already last year, shipping it to the Swift Current Broncos in exchange for defenceman Joel Sexsmith, so that’s already out of play for Parneta.
This is also a Vancouver team with a chemistry that we haven’t seen in some time. Take a 5-3 win over the Saskatoon Blades last week as evidence.
It was a dark, dreary, damp Tuesday night. There was a small crowd at the Langley Events Centre. There was no energy in the building to start. Vancouver was down 1-0 after a turnover and a bad-angle goal. The Giants trailed 3-1 after one period.
Average teams lose that game 6-1 or 7-2. Vancouver stormed back collectively. It was a statement about where it’s at as a group. It was one of the better wins they Giants have had since moving to the LEC.
Parneta needs to be careful about how much he mixes things up.
On the flip side, making an addition via trade is a compliment to the players, a show that the club brass think they have a chance of playing into April at the very least. It would speak as well to the diehard Giants fans who have stuck with the team through its struggles over the past decade.
Parneta will have to get creative. The Giants do have three 2019 second-round picks, adding choices from the Brandon Wheat Kings (in the Dmitry Osipov deal at the 2017 deadline) and the Saskatoon Blades (in the Ryan Kubic deal just prior to the start of last season) to their own. There might be something there.
It sounds like Parneta will hold out until the final day and hope that someone on the selling side blinks before he does.
CHL TOP RANKINGS
(Last week in parentheses)
1. Prince Albert Raiders (1)
2. Ottawa 67’s (3)
3. Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (2)
4. London Knights (4)
5. Drummondville Voltigeurs (5)
6. Everett Silvertips (6)
7. Vancouver Giants (10)
8. Moncton Wildcats (8)
9. Halifax Mooseheads (9)
10. Baie-Comeau Drakkar (7)
Honourable mention: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Moose Jaw Warriors, Charlottetown Islanders.
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