Gladiators trade Brandt

DULUTH - The bill came due and the Gwinnett Gladiators ended up losing one of their alternate captains Monday.

In completing a trade for future considerations that gained the Gladiators goaltender Josh Johnson in November, Gwinnett traded forward Andy Brandt to South Carolina.

The Stingrays then traded Brandt to Victoria to complete a deal they made to get goalie Jonathan Boutin in February.

"You hate to lose a guy like that," Gladiators head coach Jeff Pyle said. "I love the kid. He works hard. He's good in the locker room.

"I would have hated to lose any of those guys (that were unprotected), but it's part of the business."

When it comes to trades for "future considerations" teams are allowed to protect six players on their roster.

In this case, Gwinnett protected Josh Engel, Tom Zanoski, Scott Marchesi, Dirk Southern, Brandon Kaleniecki and Jordan Fox.

South Carolina, which won the Kelly Cup earlier this month, wasn't permitted to take Johnson as a player can't be traded back to his initial team within the same year.

Added to that, the Stingrays were looking to complete the deal that brought Boutin from Victoria and the Salmon Kings wanted Brandt.

It isn't hard to see why.

Although his point production dropped off a bit in his second pro season, Brandt worked extremely hard and was a constant in an ever-shifting lineup last year.

The Wisconsin native hasn't missed a game in two full seasons with the Gladiators and was the first player re-signed last summer. He had 44 points as a rookie last season and 31 points in 2008-09.

Brandt hasn't played for any team other than Gwinnett during his pro career, coming to the Gladiators as soon as his senior season at the University of Wisconsin was done in 2007.

Pyle said he actually already had sent out a contract for next season to Brandt and offered him an out when Victoria picked him for the trade.

"I told him, 'you can rip up the contract I sent you,'" Pyle said.

That would have made Brandt ineligible for the trade, but also would have meant he couldn't play in the ECHL this season.

"But he's a professional," Pyle said. "He understands.

"In the end, I like Brando and I wish him nothing but the best."

A proven winner - Brandt was part of the Badgers' 2006 national championship team - he is also a stand-up character player.

But then so is Johnson. Though Brandt will be missed in Gwinnett, the value of the player acquired - even if it was months ago - must be considered.

"We got Johnny out of it," Pyle said, "for nothing at the time."

Johnson, 25, appeared in 25 regular-season and three playoff games for the Gladiators. The Minnesota native was excellent in the postseason as the Gladiators took on No. 1 Florida in the first round. Johnson had a 2.10 goals against average and a .944 save percentage against the Everblades.