Medicine Hat, AB – The Medicine Hat Tigers announced this afternoon the acquisition of 20-year-old defenseman James Bettauer and a 6th round bantam draft pick in 2013 from the Prince Albert Raiders. In exchange, 20-year-old forward Kellan Tochkin will be going to the Raiders.
A native of Coquitlam, BC, Bettauer is in his third WHL season and second with the Raiders.
“We are excited to be getting a veteran defenseman who is off to a real good start this year,” said Tigers’ general manager Brad McEwen.
“James will fit in well with our team as we were looking for an older defenseman to add to the group. He brings some offense with him, which will help on the power play and is able to play in all situations. James is going to add some more depth to our team.”
“We thank Kellan for his time in Medicine Hat and wish all the best in his future endeavours.”
Tochkin got off to a really slow start this year, but hopefully this move helps solidy a Defense that has made big progress lately. I think with the strong play of of the 3rd and 4th lne depth players it made Tochkin Expendable.
However this move puts the Tigers at nine Defenceman, and only 1 spare forward so something more is probably on the horizon. Kyle Becker has yet to play this season due to injury, but he is apparently very close to being healthy. Scott McKay could move up to forward if need be. They have a few options to run with.
Edit: 9:45 AM Tuesday
With this trade the Defensive depth looks like this. Changed from line depth to a an overveiw depth
Bettauer(still to be evaluated), Busenius, mckay
Becker(still to be evaluated, may move up)
With Scott Mckay either playing forward or pushing the rookies off the top 6 charts and being interchanged somewhere on the 2nd or 3rd defensive lines. Either way there is an abundance of Dman. It is likely that 1 or 2 of Lewington/Becker/Jensen gets sent back down. It is likely the Tigers will go with 2 extra defensive spares because of thier depth and the ability of scott mckay to be rotated to forward.
If mckay plays forward it leaves two healthy spares on forward. Mckay is a better defenseman than forward, although he would probably fit in very well as a penalty killer or a player to throw in defending late leads, and the next couple games he will probably be playing forward to further evaluate the younger Tigers Rookie Dmen.
I should add that if Lewington/Becker/Jensen step up and show they are consistent and capable of being on the third line then we will see mckay moved up on a more permanent basis, but at this point in time mckay holds the edge over the rookies.
I think that the Tigers may be in the market for a forward down the road an extra punch to go with Emerson Etem up front but this is something they dont need to rush on, and they have time to evalute how the current group of forwards produces. If the current group can continually provide secondary scoring, the need for another scorer would be diminished although another scorer never hurts :)
The interwebs is fairly quiet on scouting reports. He played his 17 year old season in chilliwack, then was sent down to Burnaby Express in his 18 year old year. He played last year with P.A.
So far this season he has had a very hot start with 9 points in 15 games. From everything I've read he seems to be a solid 2 way player that can pick up some points as well as a guy who likes to stick up for teammates. Bit of a late bloomer