The Detroit Red Wings cannot be sure how valuable the first round pick Nate Danielson (drafted ninth overall, 2023) will be in the NHL. But they now know his value as a Western Hockey League player.
The Portland Winterhawks gave up two first round picks (2025 and 2027), plus a fifth-round pick and two players (Nick Johnson and Rhett Ravndahl) to the Brandon Wheat Kings for Danielson. He was the Wheat Kings’ captain.
Wheat Kings Hate to Trade Danielson
“It’s honestly the hardest day of my career since being in this position,” Wheat Kings head coach and GM Marty Murray said in a statement on the Brandon website. “To have to move a player like Nate is very, very difficult. For us, we felt like it was an opportunity for us to continue to push, that’s going to be a really important message to our guys that we feel we have the troops to be a playoff team and keep growing and make strides. At the same time, it’s hard to move a player like Nate.”
Danielson played impressively in Red Wings’ training camp and registered two goals and assists for four points in five NHL preseason games. He has followed that up with 12 goals and 26 points in 26 games for Brandon. Recently, Danielson put up a goal and two assists for Canada at the World Junior Championships in Sweden.
“He deserves a spot on the wall of fame,” said Murray. “He’s one of the highest draft picks in Wheat Kings history, he’s an unbelievable hockey player as we all know, and more importantly he’s a great human being. He wore the jersey with pride.”
He is now joining a Portland team that already boasted five NHL-drafted players. It’s common practice in junior hockey team for teams to trade older players to contenders. The Winterhawks are in second place in the Western Conference and the Wheat Kings are in sixth play in the Eastern Conference.