The Regina Pats traded the team's star forward Morgan Klimchuk to the Brandon Wheat Kings Friday.
In exchange, the team takes on top NHL draft prospect Jesse Gabrielle, who is also a forward.
Head coach John Paddock said it was a tough but necessary decision to make.
"We're able to add a good young player that is not in (Klimchuk's) class right now, but he is going to bring different things, he is going to play lots," said Paddock.
With big gaps in certain age groups, John Paddock has been working to patch the holes and prepare for the future.
"It's a hybrid trade that's going to satisfy both needs."
Klimchuk was the Pats' fifth overall pick in the 2010 WHL Bantam draft.
Since then, he has gone on to play in 228 games for the blue and white.
Klimchuk is originally from Calgary, Alta. and sits 32nd on the all-time Pats scoring list with 217 points.
He has also been chosen as alternative captain for the past two seasons and has been named the team's 'Most Sportsmanlike Player' for the past two years.
"He's been outstanding. To me, he's the best two-way winner in the league," said Paddock.
The team notes Klimchuk has been an active member of the community, including volunteering for Read to Succeed and Project First Goal.
"As good as we talk about him being a player, he has been a professional playing in an amateur sport in his preparation and his leadership," added Paddock.
Day of mixed emotions, says Klimchuk
As for Klimchuk, he said it was a day filled with mixed emotions.
"Coming down out of that dressing room today, coming to get my gear was probably one of the hardest things I have done in my hockey career. Just saying goodbye to the guys and seeing the room for the last time - what's been the last five years of my life is something that is pretty challenging, pretty hard to do," said Klimchuk.
"But on the other side of that, change is sometimes good and I'm going to a pretty good hockey team. So, (it's) something that I'm pretty excited about."
Gabrielle in the Pats' lineup Friday night
Gabrielle was on the ice for his first game as a Regina Pat Friday night in their 6-4 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Jesse Gabrielle is originally from Moosomin, Sask.
Last season, he posted 26 points and 68 penalty minutes in 49 games. In November, he was ranked as a 'B' skater by central scouting for the upcoming NHL draft.
Paddock said he is looking forward to welcoming Gabrielle to the team.
"He's a young solid player. He's got pretty good stats this year as a 17-year-old. He's a big strong guy. We're looking forward to what he brings in a different dimension," said Paddock.