The Nelson Leafs continue to make moves ahead of the upcoming roster freeze.
The Leafs signed Junior A goaltender Caiden Kreitz and traded netminder Sam Burford to the Creston Valley Thunder Cats on Wednesday.
Kreitz, who was previously signed by the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos, played the last three seasons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Calgary Canucks.
His arrival is similar to recent signing Dylan Williamson, in that Kreitz was also traded by the Canucks to another AJHL team only to decide on playing in Nelson instead.
Leafs general manager Lance Morey said he’s known Kreitz since he was nine or 10 years old. He thinks Kreitz, now 19, will be able to provide starter Josh Williams with time off even against competitive teams ahead of the post-season.
“If Williams is No. 1, [Kreitz] is 1A. …,” said Morey. “We’re getting a very solid kid. He’s good in the room and he’s an exceptional goalie.”
Morey said Kreitz is expected to start Friday on the road against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
Burford, meanwhile, was sent to Creston in exchange for future considerations. Burford was signed out of the AJHL in November and had a 3.22 goals-against average and a 8.91 save percentage in seven appearances.
“Creston needed another goalie and Sam Burford was happy to go there,” said Morey. “There’s three or four kids he’s played with before.”
Morey said he’s hoping to make perhaps one more transaction prior to the Jan. 10 roster freeze.
Nelson is also sending three players and its coach to the Jan. 13 KIJHL Prospects Game in Kelowna. Forwards Ryan Cooper and Ryan Piva and defenceman Dash Thompson have been selected for the Kootenay Prospects team, while Leafs coach Mario DiBella has been selected as the squad’s head coach.