The Vancouver Giants add a pair of veteran defenders in two deals to help stabilize their own zone

Alex Cotton, 20, is coming from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for four draft picks and one prospect. The Langley native is delighted with the opportunity to finish his career in front of friends and family.

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Vancouver Giants general manager Barclay Parneta tried to stabilize the team’s defense Friday afternoon, landing Detroit Red Wings blue line prospect Alex Cotton of the Lethbridge Hurricanes for four draft picks and defensive prospect Hunter McInnes, and also got the team’s rearguard Evan Toth. Calgary Hitmen for a draft pick.


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Cotton, a 20-year-old from Langley on whom Detroit used a 2020 NHL Draft fifth-round pick, has 154 regular-season games in the WHL. Toth, 19, who is from Winnipeg, is 80.

Vancouver’s current six-man defensive contingent includes four players with fewer than 30 league games each.

Parneta said both Cotton and Toth plan to drive to the Lower Mainland, so they wouldn’t make their Giants debut until next week.

Vancouver (4-2-1-0) is coming off a 7-6 loss to the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday that saw them give up a 6-4 lead. They were scheduled to play the Prince George Cougars on Friday at the Langley Events Center. They will face the Portland Winterhawks at the LEC on Saturday.

The Giants have intriguing talent up front, led by 2021 Boston Bruins first-round Fabian Lysell, 2021 Ottawa Senators second-round Zack Ostapchuk and 2020 Florida Panthers third-round Justin Sourdif. In goal, they have 2020 Vegas Golden Knights fifth-round player Jesper Vikman.


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Along with McInness, Vancouver sent Lethbridge a third round in 2022, a fourth in 2023, a fifth in 2022 and a sixth in 2022. For Toth, Calgary receives a sixth place in 2021.

Only teams of three 20-year-olds are allowed. Cotton occupies a place that had once belonged to Cade McNelly. McNelly left the team last week for personal reasons. The Giants’ Twitter feed announced Friday: “The Vancouver Giants sent defender Cade McNelly, born in 2001, home and is no longer on the active roster. At this time, there will be no further comment. “

McNelly had come to the Giants from the Seattle Thunderbirds in an offseason trade. He missed the first four games of the season and ended with a five-game suspension evaluated last season. He played a game with Vancouver. He practiced with the Giants last Thursday, but was listed as scratch for the first time the following night in what became Vancouver’s 7-2 win over Kelowna in the LEC.


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Cotton, a 6-foot-1 180-pound right-hander, should automatically become Vancouver’s number one defender. He scored 20 goals and 67 points in 63 games for Lethbridge in 2019-20, making him the top-scoring rearguard in the league that season. Seven goals and 24 assists came with a man advantage.

He scored four goals and six points in eight games for Lethbridge this season.

He admits that the Red Wings have told him to “try working on my D game.” He has yet to sign his entry-level contract with Detroit.

Cotton grew up playing minor hockey in Langley, so coming to the Giants, who play their home games from the Langley Events Center, gives his family a better chance to watch the final season of his career games in the WHL.

“They are super excited,” he said. “I am also very excited.”

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