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Charlottetown Islanders considering options as trade period nears

Head coach Jim Hulton speaks to his Charlottetown Islanders at the end of Wednesday’s practice.
Head coach Jim Hulton speaks to his Charlottetown Islanders at the end of Wednesday’s practice. - Jason Malloy

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Charlottetown Islanders have two options this trade period, and they don’t include the aggressive buy approach fans saw the team take in 2016-17.

The Islanders could keep the status quo with a minor tweak or entertain moving some of its veteran players when the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League trade period opens from Dec. 16-Jan. 6.

“We don't have the assets to be aggressive in the buy market,” head coach and general manager Jim Hulton said Thursday morning.

He presented options to the team’s hockey committee on Wednesday afternoon. During the roughly two-hour meeting the group looked at various scenarios and the implications of making each move. The team’s mandate has been to make sure it is looking after both the short- and long-term needs of the franchise with the goal of being competitive annually.

While no decisions have been made, the franchise’s brass is on the same page with a willingness to listen and consider each opportunity as they present themselves.

“We’re exploring all the different scenarios,” Hulton said. “There’s no secret that there’s calls of interest on players, so we have to do our due diligence and listen.”

The bench boss acknowledged the tire-kicking is intensifying each day. While Hulton didn’t speak about specific players, veterans like captain Pierre-Olivier Joseph and Keith Getson are two players who would likely have value to contenders.

“If we do have to make a move, it has to be a major win for the franchise,” Hulton said, speaking generally about the approaching trade period.

The Islanders are in a similar place to a year ago, but with a better record this year of 17-7-2-1 before Wednesday’s game with Quebec to its 17-10-1-0 record on Dec. 6, 2017.

They had an overage spot available a year ago and were able to add Cam Askew to fill it by trading Matthew Grouchy and Gregor MacLeod to Quebec for Derek Gentile and a draft pick. The pick was flipped to Shawinigan for Askew. The Isles also boosted their offence by acquiring Daniel Hardie for Samuel Meisenheimer and draft picks.

This year, two teams from the league will make the Memorial Cup with Halifax being the host team. The other big change from a year ago is the league’s playoff format now sees teams play the first two rounds of the post-season inside their conference.

“Our conference is loaded right now,” Hulton said.

The 10-team conference includes Halifax, Moncton, Cape Breton, Rimouski and Baie-Comeau.

During the 2016-17 season, the Islanders received Daniel Sprong back from the Pittsburgh Penguins and loaded up to make a run. It added nine players at the deadline for a variety of players and picks.

“We were pretty aggressive that year,” Hulton said. “We knew we were going to have to pay the piper at some point. Free agency allowed us to bridge the gap last year, but pick-wise we’re still pretty threadbare this year and next.”


In the cupboard

A look at the Charlottetown Islanders draft picks during the next three drafts. Teams can only trade picks three years out.

2019

First – To Gatineau for Alex Dostie.

Second – Yes.

Third – Yes.

Fourth – To Shawinigan for Pascal Aquin playing here as an overager.

Fifth – To Blainville-Boisbriand Armada for a sixth in 2018.

Sixth – To Moncton for Will Bower.

Seventh – To Moncton for Olivier Desjardins.

Eighth onward – Have their own picks, plus Shawinigan’s eighth for Aquin.

2020

First – Yes.

Second – To Sherbrooke for Carl Neill.

Third – To Val-d’Or for Adam Marsh playing here as an overager.

Fourth – Yes.

Fifth – To Saint John for Daniel Hardie playing here as an overager.

Sixth – To Saint John for Kevin Gursoy but have Acadie-Bathurst’s sixth for D Antoine Leblanc.

Seventh onward – Have their own picks.

2021

Charlottetown has all of its 2021 picks.

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