If there's an offensive void in the Charlottetown Islanders, then Alexis Pépin hopes he can fill it as the 2013-14 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League regular season approaches.
"I'd like to put in about 30 goals, help the team offensively. Be more offensive because we're without (Josh) Currie and (Ben) Duffy this year. Step up my game," said Pépin after Islanders practice Tuesday in Pownal.
Those two graduated from junior hockey this year after posting a combined 88 goals and 214 points in 2012-13, including a QMJHL scoring title for Duffy.
Pépin, a six-foot-two, 238-pound centreman, will get his chance to work on his scoring as Gordie Dwyer, Islanders head coach, sees the Candiac, Que., native (and second overall pick in 2012) as a top-six forward.
But, Dwyer said, there are conditions attached to the ice time.
"He has to fit that role. He has to earn his keep up there," said Dwyer, now in his third season as Islanders bench boss. "I expect him to have an impact for us this season. Since he's returned (from Team Canada) he's been working hard in games and practice."
Pépin already has had an impact on Hockey Canada. The 17 year old was a member of Team Canada's winning under-18 team at the Ivan Hlinka memorial in the Czech Republic.
And though he didn't get a point in the tourney, he did learn something he can use in his second year in the Q.
"It taught me (how important) roles are on a hockey team," said Pépin, who had 18 goals and 30 points in 64 games last season.
He was minus-nine in plus-minus ratio last year, another number he'd like to improve as his NHL draft year nears.
"I got to get better defensively. Be responsible in our end. My defensive game has to improve, that's crucial for the NHL. Two-way forwards are what (teams) are looking for."
Training camp continues today and Thursday in Pownal. Practices start at 10 a.m.
Saturday, the Islanders reassigned goalie Logan Cooke to midget AAA in Cape Breton. Injured forward Zach Beaton (ribs) returned to practice this week.
The league takes a three-day break beginning Friday. Camps reopen Monday, Sept. 2.
Charlottetown hopes to be back in its home digs at the Charlottetown Civic Centre on Sept. 2.
The Islanders (2-1 in pre-season) next game is Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m., in Moncton versus the Wildcats.
Charlottetown's next home game is Friday, Sept. 6, versus Cape Breton. Game time is 7 p.m. at the CCC.
The regular season begins Sept. 12 when Halifax hosts Moncton. The Islanders open Sept. 13 at home versus Halifax. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Civic Centre.
On the web at www.charlottetownislanders.com.