The Portland Winterhawks pulled the trigger on a major trade this morning with the Vancouver Giants, acquiring 20 year old Craig Cunningham and a 6th round selection in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft for 20 year old forward Spencer Bennett, 18 year old forward Teal Burns, a 1st round selection in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft and a second round selection in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.
Cunningham, who was the Giants Captain, was the Western Conference finalist for the WHL Player of the Year last year for Vancouver when he scored 97 points. He had played his entire career in Vancouver, spanning 295 games in which he accumulated 222 points. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the fourth round of the NHL Entry Draft this past June. The trade was the “hardest deal” that Scott Bonner has made as GM of the Giants in his words due to Cunningham’s long term tenure with the Giants.
He will bring more scoring to the Hawks forward units, but Cunningham is a very versatile player that has played all situations, including the penalty kill, for the Giants in his career and his experience of being with a team that has made deep playoff runs in Vancouver will only help the Hawks as the team hopes to make an extended run this year.
Cunningham is expected to be in the lineup tonight for Portland and will wear #14.
Bennett and Burns are two quality players and two quality people that will get a chance to play closer to home as Bennett is from White Rock and Burns is from Victoria. Both will get great chances to play a lot for the Giants and I wish them well.
On a side note…I feel bad for Dan Elliott, the voice of the Vancouver Giants…with the acquisition of Teal Burns, the Giants now have three players with the last name of Burns on the roster – brothers Michael and Nathan and now Teal. Maybe Don Hay will put them on the same line…oy vey…
In other news….the World U17 tournament gets started tomorrow in Winnipeg and there was a nice preview article in the Winnipeg Sun that highlights both Derrick Pouliot and Brendan Leipsic.
I got a note from Greg Leipsic (Brendan’s father) that Pouliot has been named Captain of Team West and Leipsic has been named an Alternate Captain. Congrats and Good Luck to both!