by Dan Mulhausen

January 9, 2014, KENNEWICK, WA (ISN) – Tri-City Americans Governor/General Manager Bob Tory announced today that the team has acquired 17-year-old defenseman Josh Thrower from the Calgary Hitmen in exchange for 19-year-old forward Connor Rankin.

Thrower, listed at 6’1 and 200 pounds, is in the midst of his second full WHL season. Originally a second round (23rd overall) selection by the Hitmen in 2011, Thrower has appeared in 73 career WHL games, totaling 3 goals, 11 points and 89 penalty minutes. The Squamish, British Columbia-native has already exceeded his rookie season’s offensive totals, coming to Tri-City with 2 goals, 6 points, 43 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating. Additionally, Thrower competed as a member of Team Pacific at the 2013 World Under-17 Challenge, picking up two points and 14 penalty minutes in 5 tournament games and a 5th place finish.

“Josh is an elite 1996-aged player, who will help anchor our blueline for the next three years,” explained Tory. “We are pleased to welcome Josh to our program.”

Meanwhile, Rankin wraps up a solid career in an Americans’ sweater. A 6’0 200-pound left wing from N. Vancouver, British Columbia, Rankin was Tri-City’s first round (7th overall) pick from the 2009 Bantam Draft. Currently Tri-City’s second-leading scorer, Rankin has compiled 13 goals, 33 points, and 26 penalty minutes in 41 games this season. In all, Rankin has appeared in 244 career WHL games, all with Tri-City, totaling 82 goals, 174 points, 117 penalty minutes and a plus-37 rating over 3.5 seasons. Additionally, Rankin has 30 post-season games to his credit, amassing 4 goals and 16 points in that time.

“We wish Connor all the best in Calgary,” Tory said. “He has developed into a very good, reliable player in this League and it is sad to see him leave our team and family.”

Winners of two of their last three games, the Americans now host a home-and-home doubleheader with the division rival Everett Silvertips. Before hosting the ‘Tips on Saturday at the Toyota Center, Tri-City will first travel to Comcast Arena for a 7:35 p.m. face-off on Friday. Fans can catch all the action live, via WHL Live, at the Americans’ official home away from home, Kimo’s in Richland.