UPDATE: Charlottetown Islanders trade Bibeau to Val-d'Or

Jason Malloy
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Antoine Bibeau was perfect in his last game as a Charlottetown Islander.

The 19-year-old from Victoriaville, Que., stopped all 30 shots he faced to record his first shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan Saturday at Eastlink Centre. It would be his last game with the Islanders as he has been traded to the Val-d’Or Foreurs.

“We played a great game,” Bibeau told The Guardian.

“I am happy I had the chance to play the last time here in front of the crowd. I’m going to remember that all my life.”

In return for Bibeau, the Islanders received first-, third- and fourth-round picks in the 2014 draft. The Islanders also sent an eighth-round pick in 2015 to Val-d’Or.

The Islanders also traded a first- and two fourth-round picks in 2014 to Acadie-Bathurst for goalie Mason McDonald.

McDonald, 17, is a six-foot-three, 180-pound goalie from Halifax in his second season with the Titan. He is 3-8 with a 3.57 goals-against average.

He will serve as Eric Brassard's backup for today's 3 p.m. game in Bathurst, N.B.

The deals were announced around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Islanders captain Jack Nevins said it was tough to see Bibeau, who he called a “stud back there for us,” leave town.

“He’s a good teammate, good friend and great goaltender,” Nevins said. “It’s going to be a big hole to fill with him gone.”

Bibeau is the latest 19-year-old player the Islanders (15-19-1-4) have moved during the trade period, which opened a week ago. He joins Julien Leduc, Matt Bursey and Deverick Ottereyes as well as 18-year-old Yan-Pavel Laplante.

General manager Grant Sonier said it was another tough deal to make.

“None of these decisions come easily,” he said. “Antoine Bibeau is a pro.”

Sonier said Bibeau is among the league’s best (he has the third best save percentage in the league at .911) and added Val-d’Or (26-12-1-0) has strengthened its team for a playoff push.

The move is a vote of confidence in Bibeau’s backup.

“We believe Eric Brassard is able to take the ball and run with it,” Sonier said.

Sonier said the Bibeau deal would not have been completed had the McDonald deal not worked out.

“This was a calculated move that was difficult to make but made sense for today and for the future of our franchise," Sonier said.

Anytime you move a top player in this league such as Antione Bibeau, there will be people who question the decision. As an organization, if we didn’t have full confidence in Eric Brassard and newly acquired Mason McDonald, we would not have made this trade. As we continue to move forward, this is the right move for our hockey team. Antoine Bibeau has been a tremendous player for this team and we cannot thank him enough for his contributions on and off the ice. We wish him nothing but the best in the future. Grant Sonier, Islanders general manager

Brassard said he learned a lot as Bibeau’s understudy.

“I wish him good luck and hope he’s going to win a lot of games in Val-d’Or,” the 18-year-old Brassard said. “He’s a good guy and I want the best for him.”

McDonald played for Team Atlantic at last year's under-17 world hockey challenge and with the national team at this year's under-18 Ivan Hlinka tournament.

“He will come in and push Brassard,” Sonier said. “This has to do with the now and the future.”

Bibeau came to the then P.E.I. Rocket after playing three games with Lewiston in 2010-11. He was picked up by Gatineau in the dispersal draft and traded to the Rocket for a fourth-round pick.

He played 29 games in 2011-12, but it was 2012-13 he made people take notice. He wrestled the No. 1 job from incumbent Maxime Lagace en route to posting a 28-14 record with a 2.81 goals-against average and five shutouts. He was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the sixth round of this year's NHL Draft.

Bibeau acknowledged his game has grown a lot since he arrived in Charlottetown as he developed into the No. 1 keeper. He understands the transaction is part of the business side of the game, but it doesn’t make it easier.

“I’m happy I am going to Val-d’Or. They want me and it’s a good team,” he said.

“But at the same time, it’s tough to leave Charlottetown. I’ve been here the last two-and-a-half (years). I learned a lot here and met great people.”

Bibeau was quick to thank the organization, billets, the fans and a special group he shared the dressing room with.

“I’m going to miss all the boys. They have a great group of guys,” he said.

There will be at least one familiar face in his new dressing room. Louick Marcotte was traded to the Foreurs in the off-season.

The deals

Charlottetown sends G Antoine Bibeau and an eighth-round pick in 2015 to Val-d'Or for first-, third- (Blainville-Boisbriand) and fourth-round picks in 2014.

 

Charlottetown sends first- (Rimouski), fourth- (Baie-Comeau), and fourth-round picks in 2014 to Acadie-Bathurst for G Mason McDonald.

Organizations: Islanders, Eastlink Centre, The Guardian

Geographic location: Val, Val-d'Or, Victoriaville

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