With the exchange of overage players, Seattle remains set at the limit of three. In addition to Watson, the Thunderbirds are expected to return 20-year-old defensemen Jared Hauf and Jerret Smith.
Hickman, 20, finished 11th on Seattle’s all-time games played list with 285 over parts of five seasons. He scored 55 goals and finished with a total of 132 career points.
In 19 games since coming over to the Thunderbirds from Prince Albert, Millette has provided nine goals and 10 assists while filling an important veteran role in Justin Hickman’s absence.
Seattle (23-19-3-3) picked up an important victory over Spokane Sunday to claim sole possession of third place in the U.S. division only to surrender a late lead in Kamloops Wednesday. The team travels to Prince George for a pair of weekend games still searching for consistency.
When the season began, Lipsbergs was a part of a large contingent of players vying for the three overage spots on the T-Birds’ roster. Ultimately, Lipsbergs was forced to leave. Hickman’s injury opened up the opportunity to return, one that he jumped at.
Taran Kozun’s 2.23 goals against average in 32 starts through January 4 is tops among all qualified Western Hockey League netminders. That reliability between the pipes has kept Seattle (20-16-2-3) in nearly every game, giving it hope for an aggressive playoff push in the second half.
The 19-year-old forward was acquired from Prince Albert Thursday by the T-Birds in exchange for a conditional sixth-round selection in either the 2015 or 2016 Bantam Draft.
Despite being without 40 percent of its scoring at one point, Seattle went 5-1 in the first six games out of the holiday break to climb into the sixth position in the Western Conference standings.
Rookies Donovan Neuls and Nolan Volcan provided the goals and goaltender Taran Kozun posted 24 saves to lift the Thunderbirds to their sixth consecutive win Friday.
Keegan Kolesar scored two goals and added an assist to lead Seattle (17-15-2-2) to just its second win in five games against division-leading Everett (21-11-3-1). Ethan Bear had a late goal to go with two assists, and reserve goaltender Danny Mumaugh had 28 saves in his sixth start.