The Nelson Leafs have traded the player meant to be their No. 1 goaltender after a winless start to the regular season.
Nelson announced Monday it had shipped Curt Doyle to the Osoyoos Coyotes in exchange for defenceman Adam Diotte.
The Leafs also acquired goaltender Anderson Violette from the Saanich Braves of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League in exchange for a player development fee.
The moves come after Nelson fell 2-1 in overtime to the Kelowna Chiefs on Friday followed by a 5-3 loss to the North Okanagan Knights on Saturday to give the Leafs (0-3-3) six straight losses to start the season.
Doyle started both games and made 31 saves against Kelowna before allowing all five goals on 23 shots against the Knights.
It’s the second time the Nelson native has been picked up and traded by the Leafs after a five-game stint during the 2015-16 season. This year he’s struggled with a 3.19 goals-against average and .898 save percentage.
Leafs general manager Lance Morey said the availability of Violette made trading Doyle a conversation worth having so early in the season.
“[Doyle] wasn’t playing to his capabilities. We thought it might be better to move him now while someone wanted him than to wait later,” said Morey. “As a 20 year old, Curt needs to play. We sent him to a place where he’s going to play every game.”
Diotte, 19, made his KIJHL debut last season with one goal and six assists in 41 games with the Coyotes. He comes to Nelson having already scored one goal and one assist in seven games this season.
“Good first pass, good skater,” said Morey. “[He] doesn’t put up a lot of points but we need to keep some pucks out of our net. I think he’ll really help us on the backend, penalty killing and just our transition game coming out of our own zone.”
Violette, an 18-year-old Calgary native, finished last year with a 3.27 GAA and .899 save percentage in 17 games with Saanich. He also posted a 2.24 GAA and .929 save percentage in 10 playoff games.
“He was outstanding. Saanich wanted him back but he didn’t want to play that far away from home,” said Morey.
Last week the Leafs also picked up rookie defenceman Ryan Quinn Nielsen-Webb from the Columbia Valley Rockies for a player development fee.
Morey said the team won’t have defenceman Max Hurring either after Hockey Canada and BC Hockey denied the New Zealand native’s application to play as well as a team appeal.
Against Kelowna, the Leafs got their lone goal from Bryden Pow near the end of the first period.
Marshall Porteous opened the scoring for Kelowna (5-0-0) and Zane Avery scored on the only shot of overtime. Braeden Mitchell meanwhile stopped 33 shots for the Chiefs.
The next day in Armstrong, the Leafs took an early 2-0 lead thanks to power-play goals by Pow and Joe Davidson.
But the Knights (4-1-1) scored the next five goals unanswered as Lee Christensen scored twice and Kevin-Thomas Walters, Cole Haberlack and Nic Bolin added singles. Sean Kanervisto turned aside 27 shots for the win.
Kaleb Comishin also scored for the Leafs, while backup goaltender Carlos Siso chipped in with two saves.
Nelson next visits the Summerland Steam on Friday before hosting the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Saturday, followed by a Tuesday night game at home to the Spokane Braves.