Utah Grizzlies head coach and General Manager Tim Branham announced Thursday that the team has acquired defenseman Gage Ausmus from the Colorado Eagles. In addition, the Colorado Avalanche organization has assigned forward Jake Marchment to Utah.
The Grizzlies have also added rookie forward Mitch Maxwell and forward Sam Babintsev ahead of this weekend’s action in Allen.
Marchment, 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 2014. He had eight goals and 21 assists for 29 points in 48 games with the Colorado Eagles this season. The 22 year old had 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points in 58 games last year during his rookie season with Allen and Indy.
Ausmus, 6-2 and 215 pounds, is currently in his rookie season after serving as Captain for two of his four seasons at the University of North Dakota where he was a member of the 2015-16 team that won a national championship. He was drafted by San Jose in 2013 and attended Colorado Avalanche training camp in 2017. He had four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 43 games with Colorado this season.
“Gage will be a great addition to our blueline to help us defend and keep the puck out of our net,” said Branham. “Jake is a great two-way center, who’s good on draws, good in his own end and a tough player to play against. When we can add those two guys to our lineup coming from a team having a lot of success this season, it will help us with the stretch run.”
Maxwell, 27, will make his professional debut Friday in Dallas after serving as captain at the University of Lethbridge this past season where he had eight goals and 20 assists for 28 points in 28 games. He played five seasons of college hockey and totaled 30 goals and 75 assists for 105 points in 138 games. At 5-11 and 210 pounds, he played two seasons of Major Junior Hockey in the WHL with Lethbridge, prior to serving an LDS mission from 2011-13, and had 46 goals and 50 assists for 96 points in 143 games.
“He had a real good college career and in Major Junior,” said Branham on Maxwell. “He’s going to be a skilled player that skates extremely well. (I'm) definitely glad to have him in our lineup.”
Babintsev, 23, has played the last three seasons in Russia, including eight games in the KHL. He played Major Junior Hockey in the Ontario Hockey League with Mississauga from 2011-14 and had 35 goals and 47 assists for 82 points in 177 games. During his final season in 2014-15, he had 18 goals and 26 assists for 46 points in 54 games.
“He is a strong skater with a good shot and playmaking ability,” said Branham on Babintsev, who has had an impressive week of practice with the Grizzlies.
In addition, the team has traded defenseman Cliff Watson to Colorado along with forward Ryan Olsen, who departed for Europe in January. The Grizzlies have sent forward C.J. Eick to Kansas City for future considerations and have also sent forward Todd Skirving to Atlanta in exchange for future considerations.
“These additions that we are making will help us tremendously,” said Branham. “We needed to make some changes and we’ve definitely done that. We need to make a little push here and we’ve kind of got a brand new team. The boys understand what’s at stake. This will put some fire in their eyes. We have to make some headway here.”
Utah will also collect future considerations from Colorado in the trade.
The Grizzlies continue their seven-game road trip Friday and Saturday in Dallas against the Allen Americans. Faceoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. each night.