CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Charlottetown Islanders are bringing in a couple more Ontario free agents as it looks to build its lineup for the upcoming season.
“They’re here to stay,” head coach and general manager Jim Hulton said. “It makes us harder to play against and gives us increased depth.”
The Islanders have had good luck in recent seasons with players out of Ontario, including Hunter Drew, Spenser Cobbold, Dexter Weber, Jack Nevins, Mike DiPaolo and Alex Micallef. They have also added forward Cayse Ton and defencemen Taylor Egan and Jaimen Allison this off-season.
West is a 19-year-old winger from Burlington, Ont., who had four assists in 45 games with the Guelph Storm in 2015-16. He played junior B in Ontario last season.
He is listed as six-foot-three and 181 pounds. The Isles have been following him for more than a year and think he could be a late bloomer.
“Kyle was guy we pursued hard in the summer,” Hulton said. “We think he can be a guy that is difficult to play against and fits into our identity.”
West’s father, Marc, played with Islanders associate coach and assistant general manager Guy Girouard with the Hamilton Steelhawks of the OHL in the 1980s.
Hulton said size is hard to find in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft and he sees West bringing a north-south type of game similar to Pascal Aquin, who the squad acquired from Shawinigan in August 2016.
“Maybe we can strike lighting twice,” he said.
Berube, who turns 18 in December, is listed as six-feet and 187 pounds. The London, Ont., native had 20 goals and 20 assists to go with 103 penalty minutes in 45 games in the Ontario junior B league.
He attended the Islanders free agent camp in Kingston, Ont., where Hulton and Girouard plus their top two scouts had a chance to see potential acquisitions.
“Everyone agreed he was the most impactful forward there,” Hulton said. “He plays a robust style and doesn't shy away from the physical play, but has some hands.”
The Islanders didn’t make any cuts on Wednesday.
Forward Adam Marsh and defenceman Pierre-Olivier Joseph are at the Arizona Coyotes camp. The team has four forward (Marsh, Aquin, Will Bower and Dillon Boucher) in the mix for the three overage spots.
The Islanders have three pre-season games remaining. They play the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Saturday in North Sydney, N.S. They begin the regular season on Sept. 22 at home against the Moncton Wildcats.