UPDATED: Graves to play for QMJHL in Subway Series

Jason Malloy
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Ryan Graves knows his role and plays it to a T.

The six-foot-four, 225-pound blue-liner draws the opponent's top offensive lines each night. His job is to keep them off the score sheet. But don't expect to see Graves' name high on the Charlottetown Islanders scoring list.

"I don't really have much of an offensive touch," he joked Tuesday.

The 18-year-old started playing hockey in his hometown of Yarmouth, N.S., when he was about two years old. He began as a forward, but moved back to defence in atom.

"I just hated getting scored on more than I liked scoring."

The switch has paid off.

Graves moved to Bridgewater, N.S., when he was 14 to play major midget hockey, was drafted in the first round by the P.E.I. Rocket and earlier this year was selected by the New York Rangers in the fourth round (110 overall) of the NHL Draft.

He was recognized Tuesday by being selected to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's all-star team for the Subway Super Series.

"It's going to be a pretty cool experience," Graves said. "I am honoured to be selected and can't wait to play against Russia."

It is an honour Graves deserves, Islanders coach Gordie Dwyer said.

"It's a great opportunity for him to show his game on a greater stage," he said. "He has been our top defenceman this year and I think his game continues to elevate as he matures."

Gatineau will host the first game of the series on Monday, Nov. 18, while Sherbrooke will host the second game on Nov. 20.

The Russian team will head west to play all-star teams from the Ontario and Western leagues following the games with the QMJHL.

Dwyer has confidence in sending Graves over the boards when he sees the other team's snipers come off the bench.

"He does an excellent job of containing them," Dwyer said. "He's certainly got some tools that make him hard to play against."

But it hasn't come easy for Graves. He said his first season in Charlottetown was a "tough year.

"I came in and wasn't a great skater. I was a little slow. I had a lot of growing pains that year," he said.

Graves worked on his skating and continues to, putting extra time in before or after practice.

He credited working with the coaching and training staff as well as the influence of veteran defencemen like Jimmy Oligny and Alex Micallef for helping him grow his game.

"Those two guys are kind of guys you want to look up to, both top-notch defencemen," Graves said. "I learned a lot from both of them."

Graves said he has looked over the roster of the guys he will be playing with on the league team.

He played with Quebec's Anthony Duclair at the Rangers training camp, but doesn't know the rest of the players personally.

Ashley earns honour

Brooklyn's Darcy Ashley was named the Canadian Hockey League player of the week Tuesday.

Ashley scored three goals and had five assists in three wins for the Halifax Mooseheads. The 20-year-old forward has seven goals and seven assists in eight games this season.

 

The QMJHL roster includes:

Goaltenders

Sébastien Auger (SJ)

Zachary Fucale (HFX)

Defencemen

Alexis Vanier (BAC)

Dillon Fournier (ROU)

Ryan Graves (CHA)

MacKenzie Weegar (HAL)

Justin Hachè (CAP)

Samuel Morin (RIM)

Daniel Walcott (BLB)

Forwards

Anthony Mantha (VDO)

Charles Hudon (CHI)

Marc-Olivier Roy (BLB)

Anthony Duclair (QUE)

Anthony Deluca (RIM)

Félix Girard (BAC)

Frédérik Gauthier (RIM)

Laurent Dauphin (CHI)

Jonathan Drouin (HAL)

William Carrier (CAP)

Jeremy Gregoire (BAC)

Daniel Audette (SHE)

Christopher Clapperton (BLB)

Émile Poirier (GAT)

Organizations: Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Subway Super Series, Islanders New York Rangers

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Yarmouth, Ontario Western

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