Lancers deal leading scorer Alex Bump to Tri-City, send captain Nate Benoit to Waterloo
The Omaha Lancers deal a pair of NHL picks and two of their captains within the Western Conference
OMAHA, Neb. – The Omaha Lancers executed a pair of major trades Monday night sending forward Alex Bump to Tri-City and defenseman Nate Benoit to Waterloo.
Bump led Omaha with 26 points (9-17-26) this season while Benoit was fourth on Omaha’s roster with 17 points (4-13-17). Benoit, a 2021 sixth-round pick of the Minnesota Wild, wore the C for Omaha this season while Bump, a 2022 fifth-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, also had an A on his chest.
Both deals add further intrigue to the already tight Western Conference playoff race.
Bump and a 2023 Phase II 11th-round pick were sent to Tri-City in exchange for forward Haden Kruse, six draft picks and future considerations.
The picks include a 2023 Phase I fifth-round pick, 2023 Phase II second and sixth-round picks, a 2024 Phase I fourth-round pick - which initially belonged to Omaha - and 2024 Phase II second and fifth-round picks.
"We are really excited about the addition of Alex Bump," Tri-City head coach Anthony Noreen said. "He is someone who we have seen a lot of over the past year, and feel he has been one of, if not the most, impactful players we have faced.
"Our staff looks forward to working with him, and helping him continue to develop his game. We also wish Haden Kruse the best moving forward as he heads to Omaha."
The deal is Tri-City’s second major deal in the past week as the Storm also added right-shot forward Jake Richard from Muskegon last Monday.
Tri-City has also stabilized its goaltending position over the last month by adding Cameron Korpi - the reigning USHL Goaltender of the Week - and Patriks Berzins to the fold.
Tri-City currently sits fifth in the Western Conference, just one point back of Sioux City. The Storm trail third-place Lincoln by seven points, Waterloo by 10 and Fargo by 14 atop the Western Conference.
Tri-City will host Waterloo for a pair of games this Friday and Saturday.
Speaking of the Black Hawks, the Benoit addition only strengthens an already talented Waterloo blue line. Ben Robertson, Aaron Pionk and Sam Rinzel rank third, sixth and seventh in points amongst USHL defensemen.
Rinzel was Chicago’s first-round pick last summer and Robertson is the reigning USHL Defenseman of the Week.
Benoit gives Matt Smaby’s roster another NHL draft pick and he also brings 99 games of USHL experience with him to northeast Iowa.
"Nate was wearing a 'C' for Omaha, and we are bringing him in, because we believe he can join this team and immediately be one of our leaders," Waterloo general manager Bryn Chyzyk said. "There's a lot to like about Nate with his skill and size. Coupled with his maturity and experience, he is a player who makes us a better team the first time he steps onto the ice."
Benoit will head to Waterloo while the Black Hawks will send five picks back to Omaha in the deal: 2023 Phase II first and second-round picks, a 2023 Phase I fifth-round pick, and 2024 Phase II fifth and sixth-round picks.
The 2023 Phase II second-round pick initially belonged to Sioux Falls.
Both Benoit and Bump are expected to debut with their new squads Friday night in Kearney.
As for the Lancers, Omaha is 2-7-1-0 in its last 10 and 12-20-4-2 overall this season. The Lancers currently sit at the bottom of the Western Conference, seven points back of a playoff spot.