2021 BCHL trade deadline primer


The Canadian Junior Hockey League trade deadline arrives on Thursday at 3 pm Pacific Time. That’s the deadline for teams in the BC Hockey League and the other nine junior A leagues in Canada to be able to make trades and releases from their rosters.

When BCHL teams trade a BC-born player out of the league in exchange for a player development fee (often noted as ‘future considerations’), he must be waived through the BCHL first.

Relating to that, there is a deadline of 12 pm on Thursday for trades involving waivers and BCHL teams have until 2:30 pm to put in a claim for a player being dealt out of province in exchange for a player development fee.

At 4 pm, the Hockey Canada Registry closes and teams won’t be able to make any other moves.

Since the pause in training season games in November, many teams saw holes poked in their rosters by players who asked to be traded to leagues in Canada currently playing, others who joined their college teams early, and those who left for teams in the United States currently playing.

The lead-up to this year’s trade deadline is unlike any other. The rosters on the BCHL website look far from accurate because of the lack of a regular season to this point and defections to college and other leagues. As such, it’s difficult to get a gauge on what the make-up of each roster actually is.

2020-21 BCHL roster rules

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the allowable number of players on a roster was expanded from 23 to 25 this season, so each team is allowed to carry two extra players compared to previous seasons. Teams are still permitted to have only six import players and six 2000-born players on their roster. As is the norm, only American-born players are considered imports.

BCHL clubs are also required to have a minimum of four rookie players, which is defined as those entering the season with less than 30 games of junior A experience. They are also required to have a minimum of two players 17-years-old or younger on their active roster. For 2020-21, that means 2003-born or 2004-born players. ‘

Without accurate rosters heading into the deadline, the analysis turns to the trades that have happened to this point so far. Teams were permitted to make trades for the 2020-21 season starting last June 1st. As of this writing, there have been 142 trades since then.

Cowichan Valley leads the way with a total of 20 trades since last June. Alberni Valley is a close second with 19 moves. Merritt and Prince George made 17 swaps in that time and 14 for Nanaimo.

Trades per team since June 1

  • Cowichan Valley (21)
  • Alberni Valley (19)
  • Merritt, Prince George (17)
  • Nanaimo (14)
  • Penticton, West Kelowna (13)
  • Salmon Arm, Trail, Victoria (12)
  • Coquitlam (11)
  • Chilliwack (10)
  • Powell River (9)
  • Surrey (7)
  • Cranbrook (3)
  • Vernon, Wenatchee (2)
  • Langley (1)

When it comes to age groups, players in their final season of junior hockey eligibility moved the most since last June as 2000-born players have been included in close to 54 percent of all trades.

19-year-olds are involved in 67 trades, 18-year-olds featured in 48 deals and just two 17-year-olds have been moved. The two trades were high profile too, with Penticton acquiring Fin Williams on July 13 and Surrey picking up Michael Abgrall on Sept. 23.

Abgrall was the second-highest scorer among 16-year-olds during the 2019-20 BCHL season with 37 points in 57 games with Powell River. Williams was next with 31 points in 40 games with Prince George.

Teams in the Ontario Junior Hockey League have been the most popular trading partners with BCHL teams this season, with 25 out of 90 out-of-province deals seeing players sent to or coming from the league. BCHL clubs have come to trade agreements with Alberta Junior Hockey League teams and Manitoba Junior Hockey League teams 18 times.

Trades per league since June 1

  • Ontario Junior Hockey League (25)
  • Alberta Junior Hockey League (18)
  • Manitoba Junior Hockey League (18)
  • Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (15)
  • Central Canada Hockey League (6)
  • Maritime Hockey League (6)
  • Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (2)
  • Superior International Junior Hockey League (1)
  • Quebec Junior Hockey League (1)

With rosters featuring forwards more than any other position, it makes sense players from those ranks make up the majority of trades this season. So far, 114 forwards have changed teams compared to 63 defensemen and 14 goaltenders.

A whopping 80 percent of all trades this season have included future considerations, with 113 out of 142 featuring a player to be named later or a player development fee changing hands.

The pandemic hasn’t caused a larger number of trades than normal, as the 2019-20 season saw a total of 160 trades made between June 1 and the deadline, which was Jan. 10.

A look at how many deals went down each season over the last five shows the number of moves during 2020-21 to this point isn’t all that abnormal.

  • 2019-20 (160)
  • 2018-19 (119)
  • 2017-18 (121)
  • 2016-17 (111)
  • 2015-16 (114)

The most up-to-date list of BCHL trades is here on the BCHLNetwork Trade Tracker.