WICHITA, KS – Wichita Thunder head coach Malcolm Cameron is not wasting any time building his team for the 2017-18 season.
Monday, the team announced a trio of completed future considerations trades.
The first was to finalize the trade that sent Kenton Miller from Wichita to Wheeling. Coming to the Air Capital is Tyler Currier, a 28-year-old forward who has logged some miles across the ECHL landscape. In 2016-17, he split time between Indy and Wheeling, scoring 48 points (20G, 28A) in 73 games (24 games with Indy, 49 games with Wheeling).
The second piece was announced a few minutes later, when the team announced Matt Brown was the player headed to Wichita to complete the December 18 trade for Mitch Holmberg. Brown posted three goals and one assist in 12 regular season games with the Eagles. He also appeared in one contest during the postseason, culminating with a Kelly Cup championship in his first professional season.
Prior to joining the Eagles, Brown played five seasons with Mount Royal University, compiling 93 points (51g, 42a) in 110 games for the Cougars and served as the team’s captain for the final three seasons. Brown was a member of the Thunder during their 2011-12 playoff run, but did not see any playing time.
A huge part of the Allen Americans’ back-to-back title runs will be making it to Wichita for the coming season. Dyson Stevenson was acquired by the Thunder on Monday to complete the March 8 trade for Randy Cure. The 23-year-old Stevenson appeared in 131 regular season games for Allen, collecting 54 points (19g, 36a) to go along with 221 penalty minutes. He also played in 55 playoff games, notching 17 points (4g, 13a). Last season, he was utilized as a defenseman as well as a forward. He also reunites with Cameron, who was his coach in Regina of the Western Hockey League. In 2013-14, he had a career year, recording 76 points (38g, 38a) and 121 penalty minutes.
“I was really surprised when I got the call from Steve Martinson. To be honest, I thought he was calling to say I have a shot at the “C” since Chad Costello is gone,” commented Stevenson. “I’m really excited for a new team and a change will be great. As for having my old coach back, I’m real excited to be reunited with him. Malcolm coached me in junior and gave me plenty of opportunities to succeed and he played a huge part in me signing my first-ever pro contract with the Coyotes’ farm team.”
Perhaps the biggest splash was saved for last, however. This afternoon, the team announced they acquired defenseman Nolan Zajac from the Toledo Walleye. This move completes the March 9 trade that sent Landon Oslanski to the Walleye.
In his rookie season, Zajac was an ECHL All-Star (replacing Jacob MacDonald, who was on a call-up,) finished seventh among rookies with 54 points (15G, 43A), fourth among league defensemen in assists (43), and fourth among rookies with 13 power play assists. Zajac also was called up on three separate occasions, earning AHL gigs with the Iowa Wild, Manitoba Moose, and Hershey Bears. In addition, Zajac earned league honors, being named to their All-Rookie team.
The season-ending roster for Wichita will be announced Thursday.