Sun Mar 20 09:15pm EDT
Kootenay Ice forward Cody Eakin has set his sights on the Memorial Cup after having whirlwind of a 2010-11 season.
After settling for a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2011 world junior tournament, Eakin returned to the Swift Current Broncos only to find out that he'd been traded. The native of Winnipeg, Man., was involved in a blockbuster deal that sent him to the Kootenay Ice for five players and three draft-picks.
"It was tough after going through the disappoint of losing out to Russia at the World Juniors to find out that you've been traded," said Eakin. "It was tough to leave some good friendships that I made there, but at the same time it was a new opportunity."
The third round draft-pick of the Washington Capitals brings an impressive resume to the team after adding to his experiences at the world junior championship, the AHL playoffs and at NHL training camp. Eakin feels these experiences have helped him grow as a player and will help him contribute to his team going deep into the playoffs.
"My time with the (Washington) Capitals and at the World Juniors will definitely help us," said Eakin. "It's helped me as a player and will help me help our team."
The 6-foot, 190-pound centre knew expectations were high coming into Kootenay, with the ultimate goal being the Memorial Cup.
"I knew they had a good team with players like (Kevin) King and (Brayden) McNabb," said Eakin. "I was brought here to help this team win a Memorial Cup and that's our goal."
Eakin, who's scored 36 goals and 83 points in 56 regular season games this year, realizes that it will take a team effort to reach the Memorial Cup.
"We have a good team and I expect some players from all sorts of different lines to step up and put us over the edge," said Eakin. "We are going to need all four lines to contribute to beat these better teams."
The Kootenay Ice will start their long road to the Memorial Cup on Friday. in their first round match-up against the Moose Jaw Warriors.
"It won't be easy but when we play consistently and play to our strengths we can beat any team in the league," said Eakin.
Kelly Friesen is a Western Hockey League prospects writer for Yahoo! Sports follow him on twitter @KellyFriesen