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CHL Trade Deadline Deals

The trading deadline for the three CHL leagues was this week, and it was surprisingly eventful from an NCAA standpoint, even beyond yesterday's news of Cam Reid leaving St. Cloud.

NTDP forward and North Dakota recruit Stefan Matteau had his rights traded to Blainville-Boisbriand of the QMJHL, where his father is an assistant coach, and announced that he will be playing for the Armada next season. Matteau has come in for a lot of criticism for backing out on his commitment to North Dakota, and normally I'm first in line for that, but it's tough to do in this instance. The idea that Matteau should have passed on a scholarship offer from North Dakota because one day down the road, his dad might become coach of a QMJHL team, and that team might be able to acquire his rights months later is pretty silly. That's the risk of offering scholarships to players so early. Circumstances change.

Meanwhile, Miles Koules, also a North Dakota recruit, had his rights traded to the Medicine Hat Tigers. Koules' dad played in Medicine Hat so there is some connection there.

Two former Northern Michigan players involved in the infamous bike-stealing scandal were in the news. Defenseman Eric Walker, the player charged with actually stealing the bikes, was traded from Vancouver Giants to the Swift Current Broncos. I'm not sure if that was court-ordered, but Swift Current appears to be some sort of a Canadian prison camp, at least according to Google Earth.

Forward Dylan Walchuk had left Northern Michigan to return to the BCHL mid-December, and has now been added to the roster of the Spokane Chiefs, ending any possibility of someday returning to college hockey.

In addition to Cam Reid, the Portland Winterhawks also signed '95-born forward Alex Schoenborn this week. Schoenborn made the NTDP Final 40 camp, and was a member of the US U17 Select team this summer. He had also played a handful of games with the Lincoln Stars this year without registering any points.

This one comes down to another instance of the NCAA not really having a level playing field with the CHL. Schoenborn is a nice player, and potentially has a lot of upside, but not the type of player colleges would feel comfortable committing to for four years. But for a team like Portland, that has the option of cutting or trading Schoenborn if things don't work out--and the numbers suggest it is unlikely he plays his entire junior career with Portland--he is absolutely worth taking a gamble on. It's a loss for the NCAA, but I've seen a lot of similar players being traded for 5th round conditional draft picks and such over the past week, so it probably isn't as big a loss as it looks.