Oilers have traded Will Acton to Vancouver for prospect Kellan Lain.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) November 20, 2014
The Canucks completed a minor trade today, sending Kellan Lain to the Edmonton Oilers for 27-year old forward Will Acton. It’s not a major trade by any means, but we’ll take a look after the jump.
Lain, 25, was (perhaps foolishly) anointed the 10th best prospect in Vancouver’s system by Canucks Army less than two years ago, but never really made enough of an impact at the AHL level to justify an extended look in the NHL. He’ll be best remembered for setting the NHL record for fastest fight to start an NHL career during his debut in the infamous Flames game – you know the one. In all, Kellan Lain was a 3rd/4th C in Utica this year, and at 25, he’s extremely unlikely to take his game to another level. Losing him has a negligible effect on the organization.
Of course, when you don’t give up much, you don’t get much in return. Will Acton is 27, stands five inches shorter than Lain, doesn’t bring as much knuckle-chucking ability, and has a slightly longer NHL track record… of not being able to play at the NHL level. Still, Acton set a career high in AHL points and points per game last season with 23 (12 goals, 11 assists in 47 games), but was basically as productive as Lain was last season before that. Like Lain, he’s essentially a career AHLer at this point.
The best reasons I can think of for making this trade are 1) Vancouver hopes that Acton’s true talent puts him around 0.5 AHL pts/GP and not below 0.3, and 2) he makes $100k less than Lain in the AHL. The Utica Comets look really, legitimately good this year and seem to have as good a chance as any at winning the Calder Cup, so it makes sense to load up the farm with credible AHL 3rd line depth, like Acton. And if you can save $100k while doing that, all the power to you.
EDIT: UTICA GOT BETTER DANE FOX TOO! PARTY! (But not actually. After leading the WHL in scoring last year with 62 goals and 56 assists in 72 games, Holmberg is struggling mightily in ECHL Bakersfield to start his pro career. I am unsure if this means that Holmberg is Canucks property now, however.)
— Carter Baum (@CarterBaum) November 20, 2014
EDIT 2: Mitch Holmberg is on an AHL contract, so like Curtis Valk (and Antoine Roussel when he played for the Canucks AHL affiliate) he’s not technically property of either the Canucks or Oilers, meaning he can likely be signed by any NHL team at any time. Still, unlike Valk, he’s struggled in the ECHL so that’s looking unlikely.
It’s a good gamble for Utica to make, however as he basically paced Dane Fox in scoring last season, and has been as good, if not better, a CHLer in Spokane than Fox was in Erie.
Also, the Vancouver Giants swung a trade for 18-year old F Dakota Odgers earlier today, addressing some of their deficiencies with forward depth. He’s expected to be in the lineup tomorrow, along with a healthy Tyler Benson, as the Giants take on the Regina Pats at 7:30 PM at the Pacific Coliseum.