The Abbotsford Heat and Manitoba Moose made a unique transaction on Thursday evening that will see the AHL North Division rivals swap players on a temporary basis.
The Heat are loaning defenceman Keith Seabrook to the Moose for the balance of the season. In exchange, the Moose are loaning centre MacGregor Sharp to Abbotsford.
“To get something good, you have to give up something,” Heat head coach Jim Playfair said, analyzing the deal. “I think both teams benefit, I think both players benefit, and that’s ultimately what you want to do in a trade.”
Sharp, a 25-year-old native of Red Deer, Alta., became Vancouver Canucks property in a deadline-day trade with the Anaheim Ducks that also saw the Canucks add Maxime Lapierre. Sharp had six goals and seven assists in 50 games with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch this season.
His arrival fills a major need for the Heat, who had just two natural centres – Gaelan Patterson and John Armstrong – on the roster. Greg Nemisz, Logan MacMillan and Quintin Laing have been playing out of position at the pivot.
“He’s a proven centre iceman in the American Hockey League,” Playfair said of Sharp. “He’ll come in and allow us to put Greg Nemisz back on the wing. I think it gives us a better balanced attack.”
Seabrook was the Heat’s second-leading scorer among defencemen with 20 points in 48 games this season. But after a strong rookie campaign in 2009-10, the Delta native’s play came under criticism from Playfair on several occasions as a sophomore.
With John Negrin’s recent return to the lineup, Seabrook was a healthy scratch the past three games. Josh Meyers was recalled from the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies to replace Seabrook.
“Moving Keith Seabrook out of here is not something we wanted to do,” Playfair said. “In order to fill our need for another centre iceman, Seebs was the player that they demanded. It gives a great opportunity for him go in to Manitoba and get a lot of solid minutes in a lot of situations. And the best part about it is, he gets to be part of our organization coming into the (2011-12) season. He’s still a Calgary Flame, he’s still a part of our group.”
The Heat open a two-game road set against the Oklahoma City Barons this evening.