Kings add veteran forwards

On BCHL trade deadline day the Prince George Spruce Kings picked up a couple junior-savvy forwards and kept their vaunted defensive corps intact.
They acquired 19-year-old forward Lucas Vanroboys in a deal Thursday with the Cowichan Valley Capitals, sending the Caps the CJHL junior A rights to Portland Winterhawks goalie Shane Farkas, picked up earlier in the day from the West Kelowna Warriors along with future considerations in exchange for 19-year-old centre Garret Worth.
The Kings also added winger Nick Wilson, a 19-year-old veteran of 126 BCHL games, who was playing in the Pacific Junior Hockey League for the Richmond Sockeyes.
Vanroboys, a six-foot-one, 176-pound native of Thamesville, Ont., was one of the top-six forwards this season for the Capitals. He scored a goal against the Spruce Kings Saturday night in Duncan to help the Caps beat the Kings 5-2.
In 27 games with the Caps he had seven goals and seven assists for 14 points and 87 penalty minutes. He came to the BCHL last season, joining the Nanaimo Clippers after two seasons with the Selects Hockey Academy Under-18s of the U.S. Premier Hockey League based in South Kent, Conn. He played 55 games for the Clippers and had 14 goals, 24 points and 81 penalty minutes.
In July, Vanroboys was traded to Cowichan Valley as part of a six-player swap which sent Wilson to Nanaimo. The Spruce Kings tried two years ago to recruit Vanroboys to Prince George but he chose Nanaimo instead.
“He’s a 19-year-old centreman – good size, good skater – and he’s someone we’ve really liked for the last few years and we’re excited to get him,” said Kings general manager Mike Hawes. “He’s good on both sides of the ice, offensively and defensively. The goal he scored against us was a really nice goal.
“He’s got some size and he plays the middle and it’s always nice to have big centremen. He’s going to complement our forward group really well. We’re deep up front, maybe we don’t score as much as we’d like, and we need players that are responsible in both ends of the ice and he’s certainly that.”
Wilson, a five-foot-seven, 157-pound native of Surrey, played 14 games with the Clippers this season and had one assist and 20 penalty minutes.
In 12 games with the junior B Sockeyes he was on a point-per-game pace with six goals, seven assists and 64 penalty minutes in 12 games.
As a 17-year-old with the Capitals he put up five goals, 12 points and 73 penalty minutes in 57 games in his rookie BCHL season and followed that in 2017-18 with 10 goals 18 points and 99 penalty minutes in 57 games. Wilson played his 15-year-old and 16-year-old seasons with Delta Academy.
“Nick has a lot of experience in the league and he’s a gritty, in-your-face guy, not the biggest kid in the world but he works really hard and he’s the type of player who will appeal to our fans,” said Hawes.
The Kings GM made it clear to the other teams in the league he wasn’t about to part with any of his defencemen and with Logan Neaton on top of the goalie charts he wasn’t about the move him either.
“There was a ton of teams trying to pry one of our d-men away from us but I didn’t want to break up the best d-corps in the league – the strongest part of our team essentially,” said Hawes. “We’ve got some pretty coveted players.
“It’s been a busy few days and today was crazy-busy. It’s been a different type of year because essentially every team in our league makes the playoffs so no one is really selling like in years past where there were four or five teams out of it and they were moving good players. The last couple years, 16 out of the 17 make the playoffs  and even the 17th team thinks they’re going to get in the playoffs still.”
Worth, a Lake Superior State recruit, arrived in a trade Nov. 27 from the Vernon Vipers in a deal that sent 19-year-old goalie Bradley Cooper to Vernon. Worth hurt his knee and was limited to just seven games with the Kings and he had a goal and an assist. Hawes says he will likely get more playing time in West Kelowna than he would have received had he stayed with the Spruce Kings.
Farkas has been a starter for Portland, playing 39 WHL games this season, but with the Winterhawks acquiring NHL-drafted goalie Josh Hofer Thursday in a deal with Swift Current the Capitals believe there’s a good chance they can convince Farkas, a Penticton native, to play his final junior season next year in the BCHL.
Prince George (25-11-2-2, second in Mainland Division) is hosting Cowichan Valley (11-25-4-1, fifth in Island Division) tonight at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena – the Spruce Kings’ first home game of 2019. The Kings will be trying to end a three-game losing streak.
The Capitals were one of the busiest BCHL teams leading up to the deadline. On Wednesday they dealt 19-year-old D Ty Pochipinski to the Penticton Vees for 19-year-old F Cruz Cote and acquired 18-year-old F Lach Hadley from the Victoria Grizzlies for future considerations.
In one other BCHL trade, Penticton acquired 19-year-old defenceman Jarin Sutton, a Prince George product, in a deal that sent 20-year-old D Kenny Johnson to Victoria.

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