Spokane, WA - The Spokane Chiefs acquired 19-year-old forward Alessio Bertaggia (ah-LIS-see-o bur-TAWJ-jah) from the Brandon Wheat Kings in exchange for 19-year-old forward Marek Kalus, prospect Rhett Gardner, a third round pick in 2013 and a fifth round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.
"Alessio gives us an elite player with very special skill. He is a proven scorer in the WHL and has had a tremendous amount of experience internationally," Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz said.
"We are looking forward to the dimension that he will bring to our team."
Bertaggia was the leading scorer with the Brandon Wheat Kings this season with 16 goals, 18 assists and 34 points in 30 games. He has played for Switzerland in the last two World Junior Hockey Championships totaling 12 games and six points. In 94 career games in Brandon, Bertaggia has 40 goals and 84 points. He was Brandon's first round selection, 33rd overall, in the 2011 CHL Import Draft.
As a Chief, Kalus recorded a career high 20 goals and 42 points in 68 games last season. Due to injury, he has been limited to just 11 games this season. He had played 101 career games in Spokane and another 12 in the playoffs.
Gardner was Spokane's second round selection in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.
"Obviously with the WHL rules limiting each team to two import players, if you acquire one you have to lose one and that is the case with Marek. We thank him for his time in Spokane and wish him luck throughout his career.
"Rhett is a very good prospect and a tough price to play but we acquired a great asset for this year's team in Alessio."
The Spokane Chiefs have traded 19-year-old forward Collin Valcourt to the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for a first round selection in 2015 and a fifth round selection in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.
"We felt that the chance to get this type of value in return for Collin made it a workable situation for us and presented a great opportunity for him," Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz said.
Valcourt played 163 games in Spokane, scoring 37 goals and 78 points. In 39 games this season he has scored 13 goals and 23 points.
"We looked at our numbers and had a surplus of forwards and 19-year-olds. Our younger players have earned the chance to take a bigger role on this team," Speltz said.
Eighteen-year-old Adam Smith, who was added to the Chiefs roster on a tryout basis at the beginning of the week, will remain with the organization for the rest of the season.
The Spokane Chiefs also reassigned two players, defenseman Adam Power to the Spokane Braves of the KIJHL and forward Tyson Predinchuk to the Melville Millionaires of the SJHL.
Power, a 17-year-old from Post Falls, ID, played eight games for the Chiefs. He has recently returned after missing five weeks due to an upper body injury.
Predinchuk, also 17, appeared in 25 games and registered five points in his first season in Spokane.
The Chiefs have 24 players on their roster; two goaltenders, 14 forwards and eight defensemen.