Aces swap defenseman Sinkewich for a forward

Doyle Woody

Hammered so badly by injuries at forward they were reduced to using two defensemen as wingers in their last hockey game, the Alaska Aces on Thursday acquired forward Chris Clackson from the Gwinnett Gladiators for defenseman Russ Sinkewich.

Clackson is expected to arrive in Salt Lake City -- as long as his travel plans go smoothly -- in time to play in Alaska's road game Friday against the Utah Grizzlies.

With center Nate Thompson suffering an upper-body injury and leaving Wednesday's 4-0 loss at Idaho after one period, and with center Bobby Hughes shut down for half of the third period because of a lower-body injury, the Aces finished that match with just seven true forwards.

Aces coach Rob Murray said Thursday said he thinks Thompson and Hughes will be able to play Friday.

ECHL teams customarily dress 10 forwards. Nine can suffice -- that's three full lines -- but anything less is a problem.

The Aces left five forwards at home because of injuries -- Scott Gomez, Brandon Dubinsky, Tommy Mele, Jordan Kremyr and Tim Hall.

The only depth the Aces have is on defense, where they enjoyed eight healthy defensemen prior to trading Sinkewich, who was in his third season with the club. ECHL teams ideally dress six blueliners.

"My only bargaining chip was dealing a defenseman,'' Murray said. "With the make-up of our team, one of the things we need a little bit of is a second- or third-line guy who brings some physicality, a little jam.

"I think Chris fits that bill. Russ, unfortunately, becomes the spare part. Hopefully, it works for both teams.''

Clackson, 25, is a third-year pro who has played 48 games in the American Hockey League. In 23 games for Gwinnett this season, he earned 6-6--12 and plus-5 totals.

Sinkewich, 27, played three seasons for the Aces and was part of their Kelly Cup-winning crew in 2011. In 23 games this season, he furnished four assists and a plus-5 rating.

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