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Kings busy on the trade front as summer break kicks in


As the calendar turned to June, junior hockey teams were once again able to trade players in preparation for the next hockey season, whenever that may be.
And the Dauphin Kings were busy on the trade front, completing three deals made last season and making another deal to acquire a local product.
The Kings re-acquired Koby Morrisseau from the Portage Terriers to complete the trade which sent the talented forward to Portage for Bryson Cecconi.
Morrisseau had five goals and 13 points in 10 games after joining the team from the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats.
He was then dealt to Portage at the Dec. 1 deadline for Cecconi and tallied 12 goals and 26 points in 21 contests.
Morrisseau is a great talent, said Kings head coach and general manager Doug Hedley, adding he wanted to give the skilled forward a chance to play in the Centennial Cup with the Terriers.
“We’re looking forward to getting him back here. It’s going to take a sit-down meeting and talk, but he’s a player that could be one of the best in the league, for sure. So we’ve got to get on the same page and get him back in here wearing our crest. It’d be great,” he said.
The Kings also re-acquired defenceman Bryson McDonald from the Dryden Ice Dogs of the Superior International Hockey League.
After going pointless in 15 games with Dauphin, McDonald was shipped to Dryden, where he scored twice and had nine points in 31 games.
McDonald, Hedley said, gives the Kings a bit of an edge physically and he plays tough.
“Whether he plays forward or defence for us, I think he’s a good fit and he gets along with everybody,” he said.
Forward Parker Fofonoff rejoins the Kings after he was released at the January trade deadline.
Fofonoff has three goals and an assist in 39 games when he was released to make room for players acquired at the trade deadline. He joined the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Whitecourt Wolverines, scoring once and adding an assist in 11 tilts.
Hedley knew Fofonoff would be returning when he joined Whitecourt.
“We’re really happy to get him back. He gives us good depth on the right side. A good kid, fits in well. He’s going right back to his billets, so it worked out well,” he said.
The big deal the Kings made was with the Neepawa Natives.
Dauphin acquired defenceman Parker Malchuk, local product Madden Murray and a sixth round draft pick in next year’s draft in exchange for forwards Carter Sawchuk and Mitch Thiessen.
Malchuk, who turned 19 on June 1, started last season with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, playing six games before joining the Natives, where he had five goals and 17 points in 26 games. He was traded to Portage in January and recorded three goals and 11 points in 22 games.
Murray, who turned 15 on June 7, played 33 games with the Parkland Rangers of the Winnipeg AAA Bantam Hockey League, scoring 18 goals and 19 points. He was drafted by Neepawa in the third round, 23rd overall in this year’s draft and Hedley was interested in acquiring Murray’s rights as soon as the prospect was drafted.
In his second season with Dauphin, Sawchuk scored 20 goals and 44 points in 57 games.
Thiessen played 44 games with the Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings, netting 16 goals and 41 points. He scored a goal in his only game with the Kings as an AP.
Trading Sawchuk was tough as Hedley expects the Brandon native will produce 50 to 60 points this season.
“And I know he was looking at getting a little bit closer to home. So when Neepawa said they were interested, it worked out very well,” he said.
Malchuk, Hedley said, is a top three D-man who will add to the team’s depth on the backend, which the coach feels is the team’s strength right now, with Malchuk joining the likes of returning players Cole Dekoninck, Colby Jaquet, Gavin Wendorff and Kaden Ilott, as well as prospect Owen Wareham.
“We’ve got a lot of depth on the backend, there’s no doubt. We think we’re going to be very good back there and it’s going to be a position of strength,” Hedley said.
The Kings, Hedley said, still need help up front, so he acquired 20-year-old forward Vincent Nardone from the British Columbia Hockey League’s Victoria Grizzlies for future considerations.
Nardone, who compiled 17 goals and 39 points in 56 games with Flin Flon of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League as an 18-year-old, started last season with the Penticton Vees, where he tallied four goals and eight points in 22 games. After being dealt to Victoria, he scored seven times and racked up 21 points in 31 contests. The Rosemére, Que., native has a full-ride scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Omaha beginning with the 2021-22 season.
Hedley said Nardone will probably begin the season in the United States Hockey League.
“But we’ll talk if the USHL doesn’t work out. He’s a very good player. He’s an elite prospect. He would be one of the best players in this league, for sure. So we think that we’re getting back to where we need to be and will be very competitive,” he said.
Jesse Mistelbacher’s rights reverted back to the Kings from the Dryden Ice Dogs of the Superior International Junior Hockey League at season's end, but the Ice Dogs wanted to bring him back. So Hedley worked out a deal sending the forward and futures back to Dryden in exchange for future considerations.
The Kings also signed 18-year-old defenceman Jean-Michael Gilbert, a defenceman from Valleé Jonction, Que., who played with Shady Side Academy of the Midwest Prep Hockey League, where he was sixth in team scoring with 17 points, including five goals, in 17 games.
The Kings announced over the weekend goalie Levi Mitchell committed to play for Salve Regina University Seahawks of the Commonwealth Coast Conference, where he will join former Winkler Flyers defenceman Garrett Szeremley and forward Griffin Leonard.

Doug Zywina