The Charlottetown Islanders are looking for a spark and believe they have found the player to provide it.
Will Sirman, who turns 19 on Nov. 3, joined the team this week and will make his debut Thursday when the Isles host the Halifax Mooseheads at the Eastlink Centre.
The five-foot-11, 185-pound centre, who is versatile to play all three forward positions, had six goals and 13 assists in 66 games last season for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.
Islanders head coach and general manager Jim Hulton said Sirman had been on the team’s radar for a couple of years. While he doesn’t live in Kingston, Ont., any more, he had in the past and Hulton knew the family.
“We thought it was important to add some depth,” Hulton said, noting Sirman’s strong character. “We thought he’d be a good fit in the room.”
He sees him starting on the third line and helping push others for ice time.
“Our offensive production is a concern, so I don't think anybody is necessarily locked in a top-six position right now,” Hulton said. “I think we need to light a fire under some people and I think a new face will help do that.”
Charlottetown (3-4-1-0) is in 12th place in the 18-team league but has scored the fourth fewest goals with 21.
The Islanders had the roster spot available because defenceman Greg Kehoe decided to return home to Newfoundland and Labrador after playing four games to start the year. It leaves the Isles with 22 players, including six defenceman with Hunter Drew now back after serving his five-game suspension.
The team plans to go with six for now with Noah Massie (Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Capitals) and Zac Arsenault (Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild) both available as affiliates.
“By having both Noah and Zac here on the Island . . . it really gives us eight at our disposal,” Hulton said.
The team will likely need to make a decision down the road with the possibility of Lukas Cormier making the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge next month in New Brunswick while Alexander Dersch and captain Pierre-Olivier Joseph are in the mix to play for Germany and Canada, respectively, at the world junior championship in December. Germany is in the second division, which plays earlier than the top division.
Massie rejoined the Islanders for their recent Quebec road trip and fit right back into the squad, which doesn't always happen when returning players late cuts. Hulton was pleased with Massie’s play.
“It’s a wonderful luxury to have and it’s a credit to Noah’s character,” Hulton said. “No. 1, he’s gone down to Summerside and worked really hard there and No. 2 there was no hesitation when we asked him to come back.”
Thursday will provide the Islanders the first opportunity to have its full lineup together as Drew’s only game was the contest before Joseph made his return.
Need to know
Who – The newest Charlottetown Islanders. He joined the team this week after playing two games with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s this year and 66 last season with the Windsor Spitfires.
Size, position, age – Sirman is a five-foot-11, 185-pound centre who can play all three forward positions. He turns 19 on Nov. 3.
GP G A Pts.
66 6 13 19
The week ahead
7 p.m. – Halifax at Charlottetown.
7 p.m. – Charlottetown at Acadie-Bathurst.
3 p.m. – Saint John at Charlottetown