Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Whalers trade Neuvirth, Kane to Windsor

The Plymouth Whalers acquired 17-year-old Import defenseman Michal Jordan, goaltender Matt Hackett (also 17), Barrie’s second-round selection in the 2008 OHL Priority Selection and a third-round selection in 2009 from the Windsor Spitfires in exchange for goaltender Michal Neuvirth, defenseman Tom Kane and Plymouth’s fourth-round selection in 2009.

The trade alleviates Plymouth’s crowded goaltending situation, with both Neuvirth - a second-round pick of the Washington Capitals in 2006 - and Jeremy Smith (second-round pick of the Nashville Predators last summer) sharing time in goal since the start of last season. Smith will now be the No. 1 goaltender in Plymouth, with Hackett as a promising young backup.

“With two goaltenders that are second-round NHL picks on one team and sharing duties, I felt I owed it to both Jeremy and Michal to find a place for them to play,” Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci said. “We won a championship with them last year. Now, they both get a chance to play regularly.”

Neuvirth and Smith backstopped Plymouth to the OHL championship last season. The duo won the Dave Pinkney Trophy in allowing a league-low 173 goals. Neuvirth played most of the way in the 2007 playoffs, posting a 2.54 goals-against average and .927 save percentage while going 16-5-2 in 23 games. Neuvirth was awarded the F.W. “Dinty” Moore Award last season when he led all OHL goaltenders with the 2.32 goals-against average in 41 games.

Neuvirth posted a 2.38 goals-against average, .931 save percentage and a 31-12-3-2 won loss record with the Whalers in his career.

Kane – Plymouth’s third-round choice in 2006 – made the Whalers this year and was scoreless in 13 games.

Jordan (pronounced “Mee-kel Yor-DAN”) was selected by Windsor in the first round (eighth overall) of the 2007 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft and is considered a future National Hockey League prospect. Jordan – from Zlin, Czech Republic - has a goal and five assists and is +7 with 12 penalty minutes in 22 games for Windsor this season.

Hackett was selected by Windsor in the fifth round of the 2006 OHL Priority Selection. In 11 career games over two seasons, Hackett has a 4.94 goals-against average and .858 save percentage.

Neuvirth and Kane are expected to report to Windsor in time for the Spitfires’ next game – Thursday night at Windsor Arena against Brampton. Jordan and Hackett are expected to report to Plymouth in time for the Whalers’ next game – Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at Compuware Arena - against Windsor.

Jordan photo courtesy Windsor Spitfires

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