Forwards Spencer Abbott and Sam Carrick joined the Gulls on Wednesday from the Rockford IceHogs

By Hannah Kosh

Wednesday’s trade deadline has come and gone, and though the Anaheim Ducks did not make any blockbusters deals they did help out their AHL affiliate in the Gulls. After acquiring Patrick Eaves from the Dallas Stars on Feb. 24 in exchange for a conditional second-round draft pick, the only other move resulted in two Rockford IceHogs on a one-way flight to San Diego when the Chicago Blackhawks agreed to send Sam Carrick and Spencer Abbott to the Ducks organization in exchange for Kenton Helgesen and a seventh-round selection in the 2019 NHL Draft.

“I didn’t see it coming at all,” said Abbott. “I was watching the deadline on TV, I think it was like an hour later, I was like ‘okay I’m going to be here the rest of the year’. I got a call later when I was in my car and saw who it was and was like ‘oh boy.’”

Ironically, Abbott, Carrick and the IceHogs played in San Diego just five days before the trade deadline approached.

“It’s funny, I didn’t get to play that game because I was sick,” said Abbott. “But on the plane ride home I was just like ‘could you imagine living there?’ That place looks awesome and the fan base. I don’t understand how you guys draw so well in California. I’m excited. Me and Sam were talking about how awesome it would be to live here and five days later here we are.”

In Rockford, Abbott collected 15-20=35 points and 14 PIM in 53 games this season. The 5-9 170-pound forward led the IceHogs in points, goals and ranked second in assists.

The other player coming to San Diego isn’t too shabby either, AHL veteran Sam Carrick. The Stouffville, Ontario native earned 11-17=28 points with 85 PIM in 57 games with Rockford this season, tied for second among team leaders in scoring and third in goals.

“This is the first time in my whole career that I’ve been a part of a trade,” said Carrick. “But I remember talking to a few of the guys and just saying how nice it would be to play in a spot like this. Kind of a funny coincidence that we got traded here. Unexpected, but I’m happy to be here.”

Abbott and Carrick are joining a red-hot Gulls team that has posted an 18-2-0-1 record in their last 21 games and sit in third place in the Western Conference and fourth overall in the AHL.

“We want to jump on the train and keep it going,” said Abbott. “We just want to be a part of it now. The team has done well without the two of us all year, and we just want to come in, blend in and be a good part of the team.”

The Gulls finished the month of February with a 10-2-0 record, outscoring opponents 43-23 and setting a club record for the most wins in a calendar month.

“There’s nothing more fun than winning,” said Carrick. “I know what I’m getting into and I just have to go out there, play, have fun and try and add whatever I can to what this team has already built up this year.”

With the help of Rockford’s two leading scorers, San Diego has some much needed offensive depth as it looks to make a deep run in the Calder Cup playoffs this spring.

“We addressed a couple needs to go on a serious playoff run,” said Gulls general manager Bob Ferguson. “One was for a forward that could score a little bit and with one trade we were able to get two. We’re picking up not only two really good offensive players, but we’re picking up some players that have won before and that are good character people too.”

Coincidentally enough, both Carrick and Abbott have played under San Diego head coach Dallas Eakins previously in their careers.

“I was just there for a year with him before he went to Edmonton,” said Abbott. “We had a good team that year, and obviously he’s a successful coach, a good one, so I’m excited to be here and be under his coaching staff.”

Adding both players to the Gulls roster brings depth and diversity to the organization. The two newest Gulls also provide stability with call-ups and possible injuries down the stretch.

“Now that we’re here, I’m just excited,” said Carrick. “I don’t feel too much pressure right now. Just get on a roll here, and hopefully me and Spencer can contribute.”