Kelowna Rockets target size in deal featuring 1st round bantam draft picks

Rockets deal Wong

Two players selected 12 picks apart in the first round of the 2018 WHL bantam draft are switching uniforms.

In a surprising swap of 18-year-old forwards, the Kelowna Rockets sent Trevor Wong to the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for Colton Dach.

The blockbuster deal gives the Rockets something GM Bruce Hamilton says they were lacking - size down the middle.

Hamilton says with Wong, Andrew Cristall and Nolan Flamand being somewhat undersized compared with others in the BC Division, he saw this as an opportunity to get bigger with the 6'3" Dach.

“Colton is going to bring some things to our team that are going to be important to us, he shoots the puck well, I think he’s going to mature a lot as a player here now that he has an NHL training camp under his belt. We’re going to expect him to come in here and have a leadership role with our group in the near future," said Hamilton following the deal.

“When you make a deal of this size, battleship for battleship, we’re certainly giving up a young player that we’ve thought an awful lot of. Trevor was our first-round pick a few years ago and a real special person, but I think with where our team is, I thought that size was going to be an issue when we play big physical teams. I wanted to get something done earlier rather than later.”

Dach, a second round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this year, had 11 goals and nine assists in 20 games during the shortened 2020-2021 season.

He was taken sixth overall by the Blades in the 2018 bantam draft.

Wong, selected 12 spots later in the same draft, had 13 goals and 31 points in 79 games over two seasons with the Rockets.

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