(THE NEWS files)                                 Ryan Wellburn, who started the season as the Flames captain, has been traded.

(THE NEWS files) Ryan Wellburn, who started the season as the Flames captain, has been traded.

Flames trade captain Wellburn

Blueliner goes to Richmond for two younger players

The Ridge Meadows Flames have traded the player who started the year as their team captain.

Ryan Wellburn is a 20-year-old defenceman from Langley who is in his fourth season with the Flames, and was praised by his coach as one of the very best blueliners in the Pacific Junior Hockey League this season, as they put the ‘C’ on his jersey.

Wellburn has 15 points in 19 games this year, and has 79 points in his 124-game junior B career. Last season he finished fourth among defencemen in scoring, and has been the top-scoring D-man on the Flames for the past three seasons.

On Thursday night, after the Flames played the Richmond Sockeyes, the two teams completed a deal that sent Wellburn to the Sockeyes in exchange for two players who have more time left in junior hockey.

Trevor Townsend is a 19-year-old forward from Cloverdale, whom Flames coach Bayne Ryshak was a part of good Richmond teams. He had four goals and nine points in 20 games this year.

“He’s good around the net, has a good shot, and he’s hard to play against,” said Ryshak.

They also acquired 18-year-old defenceman Max Fookes, who is a big rookie defenceman. Fookes is 6’1” and 200 pounds, from Burnaby, and has three points in 17 games.

“He’s a big, solid, physical, two-way defenceman,” said Ryshak.

Wellburn has been missing games for personal reasons lately, and Ryshak said they sent him somewhere to “get a fresh start.”

Ryshak said the emergence of some of his younger defencemen, including rookie Emmett Garrett, and Brandon Armstrong, both from Maple Ridge, means there are players ready to step up.

The team captain is defenceman Kyle Davis, who is in his third season with the Flames.