The Victoria Grizzlies have added more scoring punch in the form of local product Dane Gibson, securing the rights to the power forward from Cowichan Valley in exchange for defenceman Jacob Kearley and future considerations.
Gibson, a former Peninsula Panther, had 20 goals and 33 assists in 57 games for the Capitals last season, second in team points and goals. The six-foot-one, 190-pounder also had a team-high nine power-play goals.
“For me, the biggest piece was Dane Gibson,” said Grizzlies general manager Brad Knight. “He’s got the body type I’m looking for, the competitiveness I’m looking for and the skill-set I’m looking for.
“He adds that local flavour, so he has a desire to win for his local team, and he has a pro shot. He has a great snap shot and I think he’s going to do well playing in our organization with players who can get him the puck.
“He’s a power forward in our league with some intangibles,” added Knight.
“He has natural hockey smarts and likes to play. Guys like him and with an organization that needs some goal scoring, I think you’ll see maybe an increase in his points. If not, I’d be happy with what he did last year.”
Gibson, who will turn 20 next month, had two goals and 15 assists in 40 games the previous season with the Capitals.
Kearley, from Newmarket, Ont, is a 19-year-old, who’s size — six-foot-four, 220-pounds — will be missed. He finished with six goals and 20 assists in the regular season for the Grizzlies last year and added four goals and four assists in playoffs
The defenceman occupied a lot of space, had a very active stick and moved well, but the team believes it has done a good job in recruiting for next season.
Kearley and his family are contesting the move, however, stating there was a no-trade clause.
“We are extremely pleased to add Jacob to our D-core,” Capitals’ head coach and general manager Bob Beatty said in a release that announced the deal, possibly prematurely.
The Grizzlies also traded forward Dante Hahn over the weekend to West Kelowna after he had asked to be moved to the Warriors, where he was swapped for future considerations.
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