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Daniel Hardie has been a key sniper for Islanders in first half of QMJHL season


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Daniel Hardie was brought to Charlottetown to boost an Islanders offence struggling to put the puck in the net.

A year later, consider it mission accomplished.

The 20-year-old left-winger is sixth in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) in goals with 20 heading into tonight’s game. He has been a key contributor along with Keith Getson on one of the team’s top two lines this season. The duo has found chemistry of late with veteran right-winger Derek Gentile.
“I just feel like I’ve been getting to the right spots the last couple of games here (and) I’ve had a couple of tap-ins,” Hardie said before Thursday’s practice at the Eastlink Centre. “It’s always good when you’ve got guys that can find you. I think Getsy and Gents have done a really good job of that.”

Hardie was acquired from the Saint John Sea Dogs in the final minutes of the league’s trade period on Jan. 6. The next night he was in the Islanders lineup against Moncton.

“I remember my first game, I bused in from Saint John that morning,” he said. “(The coaching staff) didn't really feed me with too much (information). They just said, ‘go out and do what you do’.”

It was the Brampton, Ont., native’s third team in less than a year after playing for the Rimouski Oceanic during the 2016-17 season.

“I was lucky enough to come here and pick up my game,” Hardie said. “I think I really benefited from (the trade) a lot.”

The QMJHL trade period opens during the Christmas break and closes the day after the world junior tournament ends. Hardie said he had no indication he would be moved a year ago, but with the Sea Dogs going younger some people had suggested he could find himself playing elsewhere.

“There’s lots of rumours going around this time of the year, so you just want to try and focus on the games,” he said.

But, he acknowledged, it is easier to say than to completely put into practice.

“I never really expected to be here. Once you go to one team, you never really expect to go anywhere else when you’re in junior,” he said.

Hardie bounced around a couple of lines in January and February as the Islanders tried a few combinations that clicked. When Hardie was added with Getson and Pascal Aquin, the trio became a difference-making line.

“I think I impressed (the coaching staff) enough to get up to the top line and we had some pretty good chemistry going and, obviously, me and Getsy have followed it into this year,” Hardie said.

RELATED: Click here for a feautre from April on Hardie.

Hardie will get a chance to play one of his former teams tonight when the Isles travel to Harbour Station to play the Sea Dogs at 7 p.m.

Hardie has played well against his former club this season, racking up three goals and six assists in four games, including a five-point night in Saint John on Oct. 28.

“You always want to go in there and beat them,” he said, noting he still has friends on the Sea Dogs.

The Islanders play their final game before the Christmas break Saturday in Halifax against the Mooseheads. Their first game after the break is Dec. 28 at home against the Herd.


Need to know

Daniel Hardie

Who – A 20-year-old left-winger for the Charlottetown Islanders.

Hometown – Brampton, Ont.

Size – Five-foot-10, 180 pounds.

Acquired – Charlottetown

Did you know? Hardie is riding a six-game point streak.

Statistics

Season           Team                   GP       G         A          Pts

2016-17           Rimouski             45        18        20        38

2017-18           Saint John           37        12        18        30

2017-18           Charlottetown     31        13        10        23

2018-19           Charlottetown     31        20        17        37

Hardie said: “I think I’ve grown as a player here and I think it’s going to help me move on to the next level.”

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