One of the areas that General Manager Alan Millar felt the Moose Jaw Warriors could upgrade heading into Tuesday’s WHL Trade Deadline was their 20-year-old forward spot.
That’s what the team did on Sunday night when they pulled the trigger on their second trade of the week, acquiring 20-year-old forward Thomas Foster and a pair of picks in exchange for 17-year-old forward Brayden Watts, a second and fifth round picks.
“We felt that it was important to add another piece and Thomas Foster was one of the guys that we targeted, we like the way that he plays the game,” said Millar.
Dakota Odgers – added in another trade with Vancouver in the offseason – had played a key role with the Warriors through the first 42 games of the season, posting two goals and eight points, while bringing a physical edge, but the Warriors saw an opportunity to get more offence out of that spot and decided to go out looking for an upgrade.
“It was a tough night to let go of a great kid like Dakota Odgers,” said Millar. “Dakota gave everything he had every night, heart and soul type guy, played hard and blocked shots.”
What Odgers did provide a ton of offensive upside and the Warriors are hoping that they’ve got that in Foster, who has ten goals and 28 points in 38 games with the Giants this season.
“He’s a hard nosed guy, solid, complete, honest are the words that come to mind in terms of the type of player that he is; veteran guy with a lot of experience and can add some offence into our lineup,” said Millar.
With the additions of Justin Almeida and Yan Khomenko last Thursday in the Nikita Popugaev, the Warriors have now inserted three new players into their group of top-nine forwards.
They feel that they now have the depth to play the type of game that they want to.
“We really like our balance, we really like our depth, we believe from top-to-bottom we’re more of a complete team in terms of playing the way that we want to play, playing a 200-foot game and at the end of the day, we feel like Foster is going to fit in well and help us down the stretch drive and into the playoffs,” said Millar.
Foster comes to Moose Jaw with a strong pedigree, he’s won a number of team awards with the Giants and Millar said that’s the kind of character player that they’re adding into their roster.
“We talked some people that know him, have worked with him and nothing but high accolades for Foster as a young man and a committed hockey player,” said Millar. “Our homework on him has shown that he’s a quality young man, committed to being a team player and working hard.”
As part of the deal, the Warriors sent Watts to Vancouver, which they hope will provide the young player with a fresh start and more of an opportunity as the former second round pick continued to be pushed down the depth chart here in Moose Jaw.
“With the number of returning players that we have on our team for next year, the light at the end of the tunnel for Brayden was that we weren’t sure where he was going to fit in,” said Millar.
“This is a good opportunity, he gets out West with a younger team in a different position this year and next year compared to us, and he’s a little closer on the West Coast for family to come in and out, so hopefully it works out well for a quality kid like Brayden.”
Foster is expected to make his Warrior debut on Tuesday night when the team hosts the Tri-City Americans at Mosaic Place.
After making two big moves in the past five days, the Warriors don’t plan on making any more significant moves heading into Tuesday’s deadline, but Millar added that with just 12 forwards on their roster, they will look to add another forward for depth.
The WHL Trade Deadline hits at 4 p.m. Click here for the latest around the league.