The Warriors announced earlier this week that they had acquired defenceman Libor Zabransky from the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.
The 19-year-old product of Brno in the Czech Republic is in his third season in the WHL, having played the previous two campaigns with the Kelowna Rockets before joining Saskatoon in the off-season.
“We are pleased to add Libor to our hockey club,” Warriors general manager Alan Millar said in a press release. “He’s a big, strong guy who moves well and has good experience in our league. Libor will complement our group of defencemen well.”
Zabransky – who has a goal and six points in 16 games with the Blades this season – arrived in Moose Jaw on Thursday and spoke to WarriorsTV about the deal.
“I’m super excited to be here, and when I heard, it was like ‘this is a new chance for me,’” he said. “I was just excited because this is a young group of players, a good team with a good coaching staff.”
Zabransky describes himself as a two-way defenceman who plays a smart style of hockey, with a focus on playing as well as he can every night and using his 123 games of regular-season experience to his advantage.
“Every single game is different, every year you have young guys coming up, so it doesn’t matter if you have 30 games or 200 games, you have to play your best every single game,” he said.
Zabransky does have a connection to the team in that he and fellow Czech Republic defenceman David Homola have known each other for years.
“It helps when you have someone [you know],” he said. “Especially a Czech guy, I can talk to him in our language so it will be an easier and smoother process for me.’
The Warriors also announced earlier in the week that they had placed 20-year-old goaltender Bailey Brkin on waivers. Brkin played 13 games for the Warriors, posting a 6-6-1-0 record with a 3.81 goals against average and .889 save percentage to go along with two shutouts. Most importantly, his play at the start of the season played a large role in the Warriors getting off to their outstanding start.
But the return of 19-year-old veteran netminder Adam Evanoff and 17-year-old Jackson Berry waiting in the wings, Brkin became the odd man out.
“We thank Bailey for his time as a Warrior,” Millar said. “Bailey was an important addition to our team with the Evanoff injury. He was a big part of our good start to the season. We wish Bailey all the best in his future endeavours on and off the ice.”
The Warriors are back in action Friday when the host the Winnipeg Ice and on Saturday when they take on the Swift Current Broncos. Both games are at 7 p.m. at Mosaic Place.