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Mavericks deal Betzold for veteran forwards Farley, Naas, re-sign Vanderlaan

Bill Althaus
bill.althaus@examiner.net
The Kansas City Mavericks acquired the rights to forward Pierre-Luc Mercier, center, from the Jacksonville Icemen in exchange for defenseman Kevin McKernan.

Greg Betzold is not going to get the opportunity to join an elite group of Kansas City Mavericks who have spent four seasons with the ECHL team.

That’s because the club traded the veteran forward to the Kalamazoo Wings for forwards Spencer Naas and Austin Farley.

Betzold would have joined Hall of Famer Sebastien Thinel, former coach and player John-Scott Dickson, former captain and No. 2 all-time scorer Andrew Courtney and last year’s team captain Rocco Carzo, who retired following last season, as a four-year Mavericks player. C.J. Eick, who signed with the Mavericks last week, will be playing his fourth season in 2020.

“Trades are the one part of this game I don’t enjoy,” Mavericks coach and director of hockey operations Tad O’Had said Wednesday. “I spoke with Greg, and I really like him, but in this game, you have to trade talent to get talent. And that’s what we did. I know some of our fans aren’t going to be happy with the trade until they see Spencer and Austin out on the ice. This deal made us a better hockey team.”

The Mavericks also announced Wednesday that they have re-signed forward Mitch Vanderlaan for the 2020-21 season.

Farley, a 5-foot-8, 170-pound 26-year-old from Park Ridge, Ill., brings speed and offense to the Mavericks’ lineup. In 27 games with the Wings last season, he compiled 22 points on nine goals and 13 assists.

He also has experience in elite European leagues, spending parts of two seasons in the Swedish Hockey League with Lulea HF.

Naas, a 5-11, 185-pound 25-year-old from St. Louis Park, Minn., comes to the Mavericks after splitting time between the Idaho Steelheads and Wings last season.

In 53 total games last season, Naas put up 19 points on 10 goals and nine assists. He played 46 games for the Idado Steelheads before playing the last seven with Kalamazoo. Naas played in 10 games for the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars during the 2018-19 season and 12 games for the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters in 2017-18.

“Getting two players like Spencer and Austin is extremely exciting for us,” O’Had said. “Farley is an elite skater with all-world speed and a skill set that translated very well in one of the best hockey leagues in the world, the Swedish Hockey League.

“Spencer Naas brings AHL experience to our roster and is a player who can play at every level on the ice. He’s going to be an impact player for us.”

Betzold exits the Mavericks after three seasons, compiling 33 goals, 49 assists and 82 points in 131 games.

“We want to thank Greg for three fantastic seasons with the Mavericks,” O’Had said. “We wish him nothing but the best in Kalamazoo and know that he is going to make an impact with his new team.”

VANDERLAAN RETURNS: Vanderlaan signed a standard player contract for the 2020-21 season, the Mavericks announced Wednesday.

Vanderlaan, a 5-foot-7, 179-pound forward from Hanwell, New Brunswick, arrived in a trade from the South Carolina Stingrays last season. He played in 13 games for the Mavericks, tallying five points on two goals and three assists.

Vanderlaan had five goals and eight assists in 32 games with South Carolina before the trade in what was his rookie season.

“Mitch is a deceptive player with a high hockey IQ,” O’Had said. “He was an excellent player at the collegiate level at Cornell and has been adapting to the pro game very well. He fits in nicely with ability to see the ice and make intelligent plays.”

O’Had said he expects more announcements in the coming weeks, and is excited about the makeup of his team so far.

“I can look in the mirror every day and say we’re making this a better team. The Orange Army, Brent (Thiessen, president and general manager) and Mr. (Lamar) Hunt (owner) deserve it.

“We’re making hundreds of calls and doing our best to bring the best talent in the country to the Mavericks. We’re not just trying to build a team that can make the playoffs, we’re trying to build a team that can give this city a championship.”

The Kansas City Mavericks acquired veteran forward Spencer Naas from the Kalamazoo Wings in a trade for forward Greg Betzold Wednesday.