With the recent pile of acquisitions made by the Swift Current Broncos ahead of Wednesday afternoon's trade deadline, it's no secret the organization is buying in especially to the remainder of the 2017-18 regular season.
Broncos Director of Hockey Operations Jamie Porter spoke in-depth with Shawn Mullin, voice of the Broncos Tuesday afternoon.
Porter says despite maybe the appearance to some of coming out of nowhere, the deals with the Hurricanes and Hitmen had been in the works for a while.
The Broncos welcome new starting goaltender Stuart Skinner between the pipes, having sent former starter Logan Flodell the other way in the trade.
An asset Skinner certainly brings to the table is playoff experience, amassing an 11-10-3-0 record, a 3.18 GAA,, and .911 save percentage over 24 post-season starts.
In 31 starts with the Hurricanes this season, Skinner has a 14-15-2 record, a 3.38 GAA, and .897 save percentage, while Flodell carried a 24-8-3 record with a 3.07 GAA and .913 save percentage in 35 games with the Broncos.
Porter expects those numbers to even out with what he feels is a better defensive unit in front of Skinner - however, stats are just part of the bigger picture.
Meanwhile, the reason 20-year-old Flodell is headed to southern Alberta is due the acquisition of fellow overager Giorgio Estephan. The forward, and offensive centre-piece of the Lethbridge trade has 58 points (18 G, 40 A) in 39 games so far this season.
The third piece of the trade, forward Tanner Nagel is coming back to what he called his second home in a post-trade interview in front of Lethbridge media. The Mossbank, Saskatchewan native played minor hockey in Swift Current, and Porter says his grit and maturity will be welcomed with open arms on the team.
As for Andrew Fyten, a forward the Broncos acquired from the Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday, Porter says a similar game to that of Nagel was hard to pass up.
The deal for Fyten was the final move for Swift Current ahead of the trade deadline. Comparing the roster from several months ago to now, the Broncos roster has debatably been shaped into that of the most-talented in the WHL.
After falling one game short of advancing out of the second round of playoffs last season, Porter says those veteran players still on the roster deserved another crack at hoisting the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champs.
With one of the more hectic WHL trade deadlines in recent memory, understandably the competition to acquire top talent heated up as teams push towards a Memorial Cup. In fact, the Broncos had to out-bid other teams on trades as early in the season as the pre-season deal to nab forward Max Patterson from the Kootenay ICE.
Of course the moves to build the current contender came at a steep price, as was the case across the WHL during the deadline frenzy.
The departure of numerous prospects, including former first-round WHL Bantam Draft selections Logan Barlage (4th overall - 2016), Dom Schmiemann (12th overall - 2014), and Riley Stotts (10th overall - 2015) wasn't an easy decision for Porter and the Broncos staff.
Porter expanded on the recurring difficulty of the decision:
Now, after acquiring two captains from their former WHL teams (Matteo Gennaro - Calgary, Giorgio Estephan - Lethbridge), there is not shortage of leadership in the Broncos dressing room. Having that maturity and experience should be part of a formula for quick cohesiveness among the slew of new Broncos on the roster, according to Porter.
Some Broncos fans remain uneasy after seeing the haul of prospects and future bantam draft picks shipped out of town. They may find solace in the fact that head coach and director of player personnel Manny Viveiros, along with Porter, haven't lost sight of the long-term plan for the team.
In fact, look no further than a bundle of young talent either still on the Broncos roster, or in the prospect pool currently playing Midget and Junior hockey around western Canada.
As the Broncos prepare for their first game as a new unit, there's no time like the present for WHL hockey in southwest Saskatchewan.
Not only has the organization bought in to the present, however, but some fans have literally bought in to the newly re-worked team. Over 200 prorated season ticket packs have been sold since the announcement of Tuesday's blockbuster traded with Lethbridge.
Swift Current is back in action Friday night in Prince Albert, taking on the Raiders in what has been dubbed as "guaranteed win night" by the Raiders' twitter account.