It took Cole Johnson two years of recovery from injury to make the Swift Current Broncos full time.
Now after only a few months on the roster he's headed to Saskatoon.
Swift Current traded Johnson to the Blades for a 5th round bantam draft pick in 2017 and a 7th round pick in 2018.
"We've given Cole an opportunity to go to another organization and play a more extended role," said Broncos Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel Manny Viveiros. "It was something he requested. We're fortunate also to pick up a couple assets for the future of our hockey team."
Johnson goes to a Blades team that has suffered several injuries to their top players like Mason McCarty, Cameron Hebig and Markson Bechtold.
"He's going to get an opportunity to go to Saskatoon and they've got some bodies that are out of the lineup right now," Viveiros said. "He's got an opportunity to go in there and play more minutes than he was going to get here."
In 34 games this season Johnson had 4 goals and 6 assists. The former 2nd round bantam draft pick had played primarily as a third line left wing for Swift Current. While the Broncos went through a litany of injuries in November and December they had a number of players step up that Viveiros is confident can fill that role.
"We certainly do," Viveiros said. "We were pretty pleased with some of these young men who stepped up and kept is going through a difficult time we had there. Now we're in a situation where we do have extra bodies creating what we call a healthy competition."
Johnson's time with the Broncos didn't turn out as planned for either side as he ended up missing both his 16 and 17-year-old seasons because of surgeries to repair an upper body injury. He gets a fresh start in Saskatoon.
“Bringing in Cole will help shore up some holes in the roster, and provide some help to our 1998 group moving forward,” said Blades General Manager Colin Priestner. “Cole’s an intriguing player, he had a lot of success in Bantam and Midget until his shoulder injury set him back."
Viveiros has been away for much of this week on a scouting trip ahead of the January 10th WHL trade deadline.
"Trip's been fine," Viveiros said. "We've just been out looking. If we can find something that's going to help improve our hockey club for a playoff push we will certainly do it, but again I'll make it very clear we're not going to do anything that's going to jeopardize our future."
There have been some big moves already this week including Aaron Irving from Edmonton to Everett and Lane Bauer from the Oil Kings to Kamloops. Both saw significant prospect and draft pick assets go towards the addition of a veteran star.
"They can pay what they feel they can afford to pay," Viveiros said. "That doesn't mean that you have to pay that. People say it may dictate the way the market is but the market is only what you pay for."
While the Broncos are doing all they can to better their club that doesn't mean they are looking to overhaul what they've got now.
"Absolutely not," Viveiros said. "We're pretty happy with what we have on our hockey club. It's just doing out due diligence like everybody else in the league here to see if there's something we can do to improve our hockey club. If not we're fine with where we are."
The Broncos host Brandon on Friday and Prince Albert on Saturday in their final two games before the deadline. They've won seven of their last eight and sit two points back of Moose Jaw for second place in a tough WHL East Division.