Pair of off- season trades shake up Cowichan Capitals’ roster

The Cowichan Valley Capitals added a big defenceman and a veteran forward in a pair of trades earlier this week, one of which saw the Caps give up a top offensive producer.

In the first deal, Jacob Kearley, a 19-year-old, 6-4, 220-pound blueliner comes to Cowichan from the Victoria Grizzlies, while 20-yearold forward Dane Gibson heads the other way.

In the other exchange, the Caps received 20-year-old forward Alex Bechtold from the Drumheller Dragons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for defender Clint Filbrandt.

Kearley brings an offensive touch for a defenceman, having accumulated 26 points last season on six goals and 20 helpers over 57 games, and another four goals and four assists in 16 playoff contests. Kearley is expected to help anchor the Cowichan defence, which lost several veterans after last season.

"We are extremely pleased to add Jacob to our D corps," Capitals head coach and general manager Bob Beatty said. "There aren’t many players that have the combination of skill, size, and character that this young man has."

Gibson had a career year with the Caps in 2013/14, scoring 20 goals and added 33 assists for 53 points in 57 games. His goal and point totals were second on the club, while his nine powerplay markers were a team high.

Bechtold is a 6-1, 206-pound forward who had a career-best 23 points in 35 games with the Dragons last year before adding 12 points in 13 playoff games, good for fourth in league scoring.

"Alex is a big, strong, power forward and he’s an extremely hard working player that is excited to join the club," Beatty said. "He is developing a reputation of being a big game player and we are excited to add him to our group."

Filbrandt, 19, played 22 games with the Caps after coming over in the trade for centre Steen Cooper, collecting six points.