Hockey Islanders bring in new faces

Charles
Charles Reid
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Charlottetown team to host Acadie-Bathurst tonight in QMJHL action

Charlottetown Islanders’ head coach Gordie Dwyer talks to his players at the end of Friday’s practice at the Eastlink Centre. 

It’s back to the grind for the Charlottetown Islanders after a week-long Christmas break, but it’s not so much business as usual.

New faces have changed the Islanders, courtesy of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League trade period, which opened Dec. 22.

One of the new players, forward Matthew Cusson, should play tonight when the Isles (14-19-1-4) host the Acadie-Bathurst Titan (14-19-2-2) in Game 1 of a home-and-home series. Start time is 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.

Game 2 is Sunday at

3 p.m. in Bathurst, N.B.

The other new player, defenceman Vincent Roy, arrived in Charlottetown from Gatineau on Friday, and if he skates versus the Titan it will be a game-time decision.

As for those who remain, for instance Isles defenceman Troy Vance, the trade hoopla can’t get in the way.

“You try not to think about it. If it happens, if happens,” said Vance, 20, after the Isles practice Friday. “I haven’t heard anything (about me), but I’m not focused on it.”

So far, Isles general manager Grant Sonier has moved forward Yan Pavel Laplante, 18, and defenceman Julien Leduc, 19, to Victoriaville for first-round picks in 2015 and 2016  and a fourth-rounder in 2014, and sent Matthew Bursey, 19, to Blainville-Boisbriand for the 17-year-old Cusson.  

And on Friday, Sonier sent veteran winger  Deverick Ottereyes, 19, and a 10th-round pick in 2015 to Gatineau for Roy, 16, and an eighth-round pick in 2014.

Ottereyes, an eighth- round pick of the P.E.I. Rocket in 2011, had four goals, eight points and 18 penalty minutes in 33 games with Charlottetown this season and had 29 points in 134 career games on P.E.I.

The six-foot-two, 189-pound Roy was an invitee to Gatineau camp and hasn’t seen action this season.

“I think people have been pretty positive. The team makeup is such that a lot of our top guys are our younger players. The excitement is in watching these younger guys grow together.” Gordie Dwyer, Charlottetown Islanders’ head coach, on the potential groan factor of the team’s fans after recent trades created a younger team.

Sonier said the Isles tried to sign the six-foot-two Roy as a free agent last year.

“He’s big, he plays physical and can really skate,” said Sonier, who wished Ottereyes well. “(Deverick) was a good contributor on and off the ice. He was a well-liked guy in the dressing room. He’ll be missed.”

The Islanders started the season fast, winning a quick 10 games, topping the league standings and making the national rankings.

But November and December weren’t kind

and the Isles slumped, suffered through a nine-game losing streak, won just

one game in their last 10 contests and lost three straight before the break.

So the stoppage came just in time, said Vance, and hopefully the time off will re-start the stalled Isles.

“Hard to see what (what we’ll be like). It’s the first day back. Some guys don’t arrive until later. But everyone is fresh, ready to go. Chemistry will come,” he said. “Everyone gets tired before Christmas, hard to focus on those last few games. We’ve come back energized, in a little better spirits. (Now we have) to go out and get as many points as we can.”

The trade period ends Jan. 7.

 

League note

Saint John recalled forward Mathieu Joseph and Kensington native and defenceman Bailey Webster from their respective midget AAA hockey clubs. Webster, 16, was a seventh-round selection in 2013 and has two goals and 14 points in 21 games this season for the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild. Joseph, also 16, was a third-round pick in 2013. Both are available to play today versus Moncton.

Organizations: Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Islanders, Eastlink Centre.Game 2

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Gatineau, Victoriaville Kensington Moncton

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Recent comments

  • bruce martin
    December 29, 2013 - 12:01

    grant and gordie are smart men and i bet there's a couple of ringers in the 2015 draft.might as well think rebuild the proper way and hope to stay the course and sell off some more assets and bring in a couple of quality euros next year.

  • Wade
    December 28, 2013 - 19:31

    Another year of the rebuild this is the only team i kn ow that is always in rebuild mode when will we ever see a team that can make a run

  • Jackofalltrades
    December 28, 2013 - 01:24

    I am glad to see the Islanders go this route for building the team. We may not see the desired results now but the direction the team is going in now will pay off down the road. I know some fans want to see a winning team now but the new ownership and management need time to make that happen, it's not going to happen over night. These people are not miracle workers where the only way to build this team into a winning team is through time and patience.

    • huh
      December 28, 2013 - 10:53

      Can't really disagree with your point, but the frustrating thing for fans of this franchise is that the exact same comment has been made many,many, times over the last few years. The "desired results" never come.

    • Jackofalltrades
      December 28, 2013 - 14:16

      To Huh: Yes but those comments were made by the former owners and management who never delivered. These new owners haven't had a chance to deliver yet. IMO it's not these owners fault that past management/owners didn't live up to their word.