Wheat Kings land disgruntled blueliner Ryan Pilon from Hurricanes

Just over a week after he asked for a trade from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Ryan Pilon got his wish. He was sent to the Brandon Wheat Kings, along with the rights to Colt Conrad, in exchange for St. Louis Blues defensive prospect Nick Walters, 18-year-old winger Taylor Cooper and blueline prospect Tanner Browne.

Ultimately, Hurricanes general manager Brad Robson was at the poker table with his cards shown. He wasn’t in a situation where he was going to win the deal because of Pilon’s trade request. He simply had to salvage what he could for the blueliner that Lethbridge selected third overall in the 2011 bantam draft.

With a 3-17-1-2 record, Robson wasn’t interested in acquiring draft picks for Pilon. He wanted players that could help turn his team around this season. Walters will help lessen the blow of losing Pilon on the back end. The 6-foot-2, 202-pounder has thrived as a shutdown specialist in his 19-year-old season in the Dub. Cooper will give Lethbridge some more depth at forward as he has potted seven goals and 10 points in 23 games this year. In addition, they snagged Browne, a highly regarded 16-year-old defenceman playing for the Okanagan Rockets in the BCMML.

“Both are character guys that will be solid additions to our lineup,” Robson states in the release. “Walters is big and steady on the back end. He’ll be key in helping our defence limit our opponent’s shots and scoring chances while Cooper, who is in just his second season, will fit in to the systems we’re trying to teach and give us some secondary scoring.”

It’s currently unknown why Pilon, who has three goals and seven points in 17 games, asked for a trade, but it’s assumed that Lethbridge's on-ice struggles are the cause. One thing is certain – with the 6-foot-2, 212-pounder being the third Hurricane to ask for a change of scenery this year, hopefully no more players will walk out on the team this season for the organization’s sake.

Taking into account Pilon just turned 17 last month and is regarded as having the potential to be a cornerstone defenceman, it’s hard to argue that Wheat Kings GM-head coach Kelly McCrimmon won this deal. The trade not only strengthens Brandon’s back end this year, but it also puts them in good shape next season with New York Islanders first-round pick Ryan Pulock expected to move onto the pros.

“This is a significant trade for our organization," says McCrimmon in the release. “Ryan is an elite player in our league and at 17 years of age will make us better now and in the future. He was the third selection in his draft player, a young player that is very highly regarded.”

The Pilon deal is the second blockbuster trade the Wheat Kings and Hurricanes have made this year. Back at the 2013 bantam draft, Brandon sent overage goalie Corbin Boes and the 17th overall pick to Lethbridge for the sixth overall pick. With that selection, the Wheat Kings drafted Kale Clague, who broke Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf’s defenceman scoring record in the Alberta bantam ranks.

Adding Pilon only solidifies the theory that the Wheat Kings could be a powerhouse club in two years. The Duck Lake, SK., native along with Clague, centre Nolan Patick, who was selected fourth overall in the 2013 bantam draft, and 17-year-old sniper Jayce Hawryluk is an exceptional quartet to build around.

Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen