Jordan DePape may get to play in the WHL again, after all.
DePape, 20, left the Kamloops Blazers on Nov. 17 and underwent shoulder surgery in Winnipeg on Nov. 26. He isn't likely to return to game action before mid-March, but he was picked up as a free agent by the Red Deer Rebels on Thursday.
It was quite a turn of events for DePape who, earlier in the day, thought he was headed to the MJHL's Dauphin Kings. They began the day by acquiring his junior A rights from the Virden Oil Capitals for future considerations. Marlon Murray, the Kings' general manager and head coach, chatted with DePape yesterday morning.
DePape also said there was "interest in the USHL" and added that he had heard from Bob Green, the Edmonton Oil Kings' general manager. DePape's chances of joining Edmonton went by the wayside when Green acquired forward Trevor Cheek, 20, from the Vancouver Giants.
Last season, DePape had surgery on his left shoulder and was limited to 14 regular-season games. He returned in time for the playoffs and put up 14 points in 11 games. This season, he had six points in 17 games, but just one goal in his last eight outings before he was forced to stop playing.
When DePape left the Blazers, it was thought the surgery on his right shoulder would be season-ending. However, he has since learned that he should be able to return in mid-March.
Brent Sutter, the Rebels' owner, general manager and head coach, obviously is willing to wait.
Before grabbing DePape, Sutter was working to get veteran forward Adam Kambeitz, 20, back in the fold. The Rebels had dealt Kambeitz, who was their captain, to the Saskatoon Blades in October. But the Blades acquired forward Michael Ferland, 20, from the Brandon Wheat Kings yesterday, giving up a 2013 first-round bantam draft pick, and had to move one of their other 20-year-olds. That player turned out to be Kambeitz.
"I knew that Saskatoon was going to move Kambeitz and he was certainly someone we were interested in getting and bringing him back," Sutter told Greg Meachem of the Red Deer Advocate. "Unfortunately Saskatoon didn't want to move him to another team in this conference."
Saskatoon traded Kambeitz to the Seattle Thunderbirds for a 2014 third-round bantam draft pick. When that happened, Sutter called DePape.
DePape said he expects to hear from Sutter today, at which time they will begin to chart the recovery process that will lead to his going to Red Deer. DePape will join forward Turner Elson and defenceman Brandon Underwood, a former teammate in Kamloops, as the Rebels' 20-year-old players.
In the meantime, DePape is back doing some off-ice workouts and hopes to resume skating in two weeks.
The Rebels are scheduled to play here on Feb. 9. DePape may not be with them then, but he may return to Kamloops later in February as part of a juvenile diabetes promotion, the details of which have yet to be released.
The biggest story of deadline day came out of Prince George where the Cougars chose not to trade centre Alex Forsberg, 17, who chose not to return to the team after the Christmas break.
Forsberg, the first selection in the 2010 bantam draft, likely will finish this season with the SJHL's Humboldt Broncos.
Dallas Thompson, the Cougars' general manager, had said he wouldn't trade Forsberg unless he got a substantial return. Thompson was true to his word.
The Cougars entertain the Blazers tonight and Saturday. The Blazers, who had earlier acquired defenceman Joel Edmundson and forward Kale Kessy, weren't involved in any trades yesterday.
The Cougars have added defenceman Jordan Harris, 16, the 10th overall selection in the 2011 bantam draft, to their roster. He had been with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.
The Blades, the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup, added three veteran players at the deadline, but it cost them two first-round bantam draft picks.
They got forward Collin Valcourt, 19, from the Spokane Chiefs for a 2015 first-rounder and a fifth in 2013. Valcourt, in his third WHL season, has 23 points in 41 games this season.
Saskatoon also got Ferland, who had 96 points in 68 games with Brandon last season. He had been assigned to the Wheat Kings by the NHL's Calgary Flames after Christmas. He had two points in four games with Brandon this season.
The Blades also added forward Erik Benoit, 19, from the Kootenay Ice for a fourth-round selection in the 2013 bantam draft. He has 18 points in 33 games this season.
There is a complete list of deadline day moves in Transactions. For even more on deadline day, go to gdrinnan.blogspot.com.