Crushers add depth to blue-line

Christopher Cameron
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Trade deadline this Friday for MHL squads, Wednesday for QMJHL

NEW GLASGOW – With the trade deadline fast approaching the Weeks Crushers were among teams busy making moves on Monday.

Harrison Wood is the newest addition to the Pictou County Weeks Crushers after a trade was completed with the Summerside Western Capitals on Monday. Wood will join the team today for his first practice.

Harrison Wood will join Pictou County Tuesday after a trade was completed on Monday that sent a fourth-round pick in the 2015 MHL draft and future considerations to the Summerside Western Capitals for their blue-liner.

In 30 games this season with the Capitals the 19-year-old had one goal and nine assists. Last year he was in and out of the lineup during Summerside’s RBC Cup run, playing in 39 of their regular season games with four goals and 12 assists.

Malone said he hopes Wood takes the opportunity to be one of their leaders on the blue-line in a regular role and share his experience of being on a championship team.

“He brings an element that we don’t really have on our back end (right now),” said head coach Jason Malone. “He’s an offensive guy with a heavy shot and I think the change of scenery will do good for him. He’s excited to be on his way here and the other side of it is that he’s bringing some experience from the run that they had last year and is hungry to be part of another run this year.”

Pictou County now has 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goalies with the Jan. 10 trade deadline drawing closer. Similar to the forward situation they’ve had, now one defenceman will not dress each game. This will create more competition among their blue-liners, which is a good thing according to Malone.

“I think it gives it a little bit of an in-house competition that there’s an ability to – obviously you want to have guys comfortable with who they’re playing with – but at the same time you want everybody playing at the top of their game, so I think this is going to hold everyone accountable,” he said. “Obviously we’re going to have someone in the stands every night, so hopefully the guys realize that and take it to heart to put the extra effort in at practice and in the gym. We want to win and we want our best lineup every night. For that to happen we need guys to put the work in.”

Signing Wood gave them some more depth on their back end, which was something they hoped to do before the deadline.

“It wasn’t so much deciding on him, but wanting that depth on our back end and seeing what was available,” he said. “When the opportunity arose to add him we wanted to explore it a little further.

“We realize that if you want to take a run at things and go deep into the playoffs or hope to go deep into the playoffs you need to have some depth and some guys ready to jump in if injuries do occur.”

Malone and the Crushers still have three cards to work with before Friday, but they aren’t going to be hasty in using them. He recognizes they have a tight-knit group right now that is successful and holds top spot in the MHL.

“We’re not really sure how we’re going to approach the next three or four days,” said Malone. “We have a plan and three cards available that we’ll use to our advantage, but we want to do it strategically and properly, so once the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League makes their decisions on their trades and who they’re going to have in their lineups, which is on the 8th, we’ll have some time in between to finalize our roster.

“We have a pretty tight-knit group in there right now and you don’t want to disrupt that too much, but you also want to give yourself the best opportunity to win come playoff time.”

Wood will practise with the team for the remainder of the week and is expected to play Thursday night against the Yarmouth Mariners.

Other transactions made on Monday:

Amherst traded John Deacon and Jesse Hammer to Valley for Justin Thomas and Ryan Falkenham.

Yarmouth traded Tim Perks to Blind River (NOJHL) for future considerations.

Amherst traded the rights to Tyler McDowell and future considerations to St. Jerome (LHJAAAQ) for Francis Alarie.

On Twitter: @NGNewsChris

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