It was a big day for coach John-Scott Dickson’s Kansas City Mavericks as the ECHL team made a big trade Thursday with the Indy Fuel and also got high-scoring forward Mitch Hults back from the American Hockey League.
The Mavericks acquired forwards Sam Kurker and Matt Schmalz from the Indy Fuel in exchange for forward Ryan Van Stralen and defenseman Cliff Watson.
“We needed forwards,” Dickson said late Thursday afternoon, “and we needed players who want to compete and work hard every night. We had to give up some talent to get that.”
Kurker, a 6-foot-2, 203-pound native of Boston, joins the Mavericks with four goals and nine assists in 34 games with the Fuel. Kurker, a second-round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues in 2012, is currently with the Mavericks’ AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat. Kurker has played in 55 AHL games in his career, with 14 points on six goals and eight assists.
Schmalz, a 6-6, 209-pound native of Dunnville, Ontario, comes to the Mavericks with 15 points on six goals and nine assists in 32 games this season with the Worcester Railers and the Fuel. In 129 career ECHL games, the forward has 77 points on 38 goals and 39 assists. Schmalz was a fifth-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2015.
Hults was the Mavericks’ top offensive threat earlier this season, compiling 24 points on nine goals and 15 assists in 24 games before he was recalled by Stockton in late December. Hults had two assists in nine games with the Heat. He has played in 79 AHL games and 63 ECHL games in his career.
“It’s great having Mitch back,” Dickson said. “He is a game-changer.”
Van Stralen had 11 goals and nine assists in 33 games with the Mavericks this season. Watson, who also played two games with the AHL's Chicago Wolves this season, had a goal and 15 assists in 32 games with Kansas City this season and seven goals and seven assists in 25 games last season.
The Mavericks face off against the Idaho Steelheads on Friday and Saturday at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. It is Military Appreciation Weekend. There are $12 tickets available to all active duty, veteran and retired military members with proper military ID. The offer is only valid at the arena box office or by calling 816-252-7825.