There's no goaltender currently playing in the WHL with more playoff experience than Jordan Papirny.
Swift Current sent veteran defenceman Kade Jensen, 19-year-old goaltender Travis Child, a 2019 second round bantam draft pick and a 2018 fifth round draft pick to Brandon for Papirny and a 2018 fourth round pick.
"We've been comfortable with the goaltending that we've had," said Broncos Director of Hockey Operations Jamie Porter. "At the same time we didn't have a lot of playoff experience. It's always been a little interesting having two goaltenders (19-year-olds Child and Taz Burman) in the same age group. At the same time to go out and get a guy like Jordan who has won and who has a lot of experience, especially in the playoffs, makes a lot of sense for us."
Papirny has been to back-to-back WHL finals and backstopped the Wheat Kings to the 2015-16 Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions. He has more playoff experience than any other goaltender in the WHL.
"Jordan has a tremendous reputation," Porter said. "Not only as a playoff goaltender and winner, and that is what Jordan has done he has won games, we understand he's a really good person and is a leader. One of the comments we got from the Brandon guys was that he was like one of their captains. That impacts the room also. I don't know of anyone who has had the (playoff) success recently that Jordan has had."
Papirny has played 188 career WHL games with 111 wins, a 2.90 goals against average and 0.907 save percentage. He has 49 games of playoff experience including 33-15-1 record, eight series wins, a 2.87 goals against average and 0.910 save percentage in the post-season.
"He's a decent size goaltender that is consistently strong," Porter said. "His bad nights are few and far between. He knows how to rebound from a bad goal. He's very experienced and he knows the ups and downs of the game. He is a playoff warrior. For us you come in and have a guy like that who can control that part of the game it makes you defence better, it makes you team better, it gives the other goaltender an opportunity to work with him to raise his game by matching what Jordan is doing... there is a lot of comfort that comes with Jordan Papirny."
A former first round bantam draft pick and Edmonton native, Papirny was also an Eastern Conference second team All-Star in 2014-15. He won both the AMBHL and AMHL Goalie of the Year awards. In 2010-11 he was the AMBHL Most Valuable Player.
Papirny's winning history extends not only to the WHL but also a Western Canada Challenge Cup gold medal, an Under-17 tournament silver medal and the AMHL Playoff MVP award in 2012-13.
Getting a goaltender with a winning pedigree like that was always going to come with a significant cost.
"Multiple picks to begin with his hard," Porter said. "The second is a few years away (2019) so there's always an opportunity to get that back somewhere. Moving out Jensen and Child is tough it's painful for us. You makea move like this it has to hurt and it did. Both of these guys could have been on our roster next year, both are quality people and both are solid players. When you want to make a move of this sort it has to hurt somewhere."
To make up for the loss of Jensen on their blue line the Broncos added 17-year-old defenceman Jake Hobson from Portland for a 2018 fifth round bantam draft pick.
"We were going from a position of strength," Porter said. "We've always felt that we had a deep group. Yes we have taken a piece out of that. We have added a piece in Jake Hobson. He is a young defenceman in his first year in the league. We've always liked him. We watched him play in PA for a couple years in midget. He's going to come in and is going to be able to move pucks. He will fill some of the void of losing Jensen. He's a good skater, he's got to learn the league a little more and he will help us out. Being a 1999 birth year this is the one part of the deals today that we will have help us in the long run."
Hobson is a former third round pick of the Winterhawks who has an assist in 18 games as a rookie. He put up an impressive 40 points in 43 games for the Prince Albert Mintos as a 16-year-old in Midget AAA and was a second team league all-star. Hobson also once played for Saskatchewan in the Canada Winter Games.
Trading a veteran like Jensen wasn't easy. The growth and emergence of younger defenceman like Sahvan Khaira, Dom Schmiemann and Matthew Stanley made it easier to swallow.
"Our young D in general have made some strides and given us comfort in the fact that they can play more minutes than they had a few months ago," Porter said. "That did allow us to an extent to have some conversations about Jensen."
Papirny is another overage player and that put the Broncos over the maximum. That forced their hands in sending veteran Calvin Spencer to Vancouver for a conditional ninth round pick this year.
"Calvin is a quality individual," Porter said. "We're going to lose some of his size, we're going to lose some of his presence. He was good in the room and in the community. I know going to Vancouver they're going to enjoy his play. It's a sad day to see Spenny go, but I'm happy he got another opportunity and happy he got a chance to stay in the league."
Swift Current also re-assigned forward Brandan Arnold to Nipawin of the SJHL.
It's rare to see division rivals that are still battling for position make such a significant deal at the deadline. Brandon still only trails third place Swift Current by nine points in the WHL East Division standings with two games in hand. Did the Broncos have any concerns about sending useful veteran players to a rival?
"Internally and probably between the two teams there was some of that," Porter said. "At the same time each of us has to trust their own group and what they're doing. We both have made a deal that helps themselves. We were worrying about the Swift Current Bronocs. They were worrying about the Brandon Wheat Kings."
Swift Current paid a significant although not overwhelming cost to add Papirny, Hobson and veteran scoring forward Riley Lindgren at the deadline. They also made a significant addition over a month ago when they acquired Ryan Graham from Saskatoon. Deciding to invest in this year's team was a process between Porter and Coach/Director of Player Personnel Manny Viveiros.
"As our group started to grow and we had success," Porter said. "We haven't had a significant losing streak, we didn't get derailed by injuries... we just really liked the group. Even before these trades we didn't have a glaring hole. When you start to add a piece here and a piece there and that piece fits in fairly well and it helps the group take another stride then you start to talk about what the next step would be. They were confident in what they could do and we wanted to feed that confidence and give them a couple pieces to do that with."
It was a hectic week of trading leading up to today's deadline that saw both Regina and Moose Jaw make significant moves. Both teams remain ahead of the Broncos in what is not only a stacked division but a tough conference this season. That didn't deter the Broncos who are showing belief in their team.
"You can't control what other people are doing," Porter said. "You can't control how a cycle will evolve. This was more about what our group was about what everybody else was and how deep it was going to be. It's awfully tough on our side, but we were happy enough with this group we weren't going to just roll over and wait for another year."
With first round picks moving in several of the deals throughout the league over the past week the Broncos were pleased they were able to get away without giving one of those valuable chips up.
"I don't like moving any types of picks," Porter said. "But to hold on to the three firsts (two this year and one next year) and still have another second I'm still happy we were able to do that. We have some holes in each of the drafts and we're going to have to look at recouping some picks as time goes on."
Swift Current's new roster will hit the ice tomorrow when they host the Kootenay Ice at the Credit Union iPlex.