The Vancouver Giants (4-6-1-1) announced on Tuesday (Oct 27) the acquisition of 1996-born defenseman Ben Thomas and 1996-born forward Chase Lang from the Calgary Hitmen (7-5-1-1) in exchange for overage forward Jackson Houck, 1997-born winger Jakob Stukel, 1997-born goaltender Cody Porter and a conditional third round pick in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft.
“In acquiring Ben and Chase, we’ve added a couple of NHL drafted players to our roster,” said Giants Executive Vice President and General Manager Scott Bonner. “Both of them have had some good playoff experience in our league, and we expect that they’ll be a great fit with our club. We would also like to wish Jackson, Jakob and Cody all the best with Calgary and thank them for their time with our organization.”
Thomas, a 19-year-old blue liner, was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning at 119th overall. Hailing from Calgary, Thomas has three assists in 14 games this season to go along with 10 penalty minutes. Last year, Thomas picked up 31 points in 60 regular season games with the Hitmen. He has also posted 10 points in 24 career playoff games.
Lang, a Nanaimo native, has two goals and five assists in 14 games with the Hitmen this season. The 19-year-old winger was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Draft at 167th overall. Last season, Lang scored 25 goals and 31 assists in 56 games while also adding seven points in 10 playoff games with the Hitmen.
Houck has suited up in 268 games for the Giants over his WHL career. The North Vancouver native was a third round pick of the G-Men in the 2010 Bantam Draft, going 57th overall. Houck was also drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL Draft at 94th overall, although he is now a free agent after the club elected not to sign him. This year, Houck has scored four goals and five assists in 12 games, and is tied for second in team scoring, three points back of Ty Ronning and Carter Popoff.
Stukel was drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft at 37th overall. The 18-year-old Surrey native had 16 points in 49 games in his rookie WHL season last year and has posted two goals and two assists in 12 games with Vancouver this year.
The Giants signed Porter as a free agent on May 16, 2014. The 18-year-old puck stopper from North Vancouver played in 40 games in his rookie season in the WHL in 2014/15, posting a 13-15-2-2 record. The Giants finished in last place in the Western conference last season, with a record of 27-41-2-2. This year, Porter has only appeared in two games for Vancouver, putting up a 4.68 goals against average and a 0.885 save percentage. He posted a 5-4 OT win in his first game vs Saskatoon on October 4, facing 43 shots. He played just under 28 minutes before being relieved after 3 goals on 18 shots in a 6-5 OT loss against the Pats in his second game, October 19.
The Giants are currently in seventh place in the 10 team Western Conference, while the Hitmen are in sixth place in the 12 team Eastern Conference.