SUMMERSIDE – Massive turnover doesn’t mean the Weeks Crushers aren’t gearing up for another competitive season.
They had 10 players graduate from their program after last year as 20-year-olds, eight of which were forwards. That dictated what they were looking over the weekend in Summerside at the MHL draft. They selected seven forwards, two defencemen and a goalie to add to their territorial picks of forward Blair Dewtie and defenceman Connor MacLaughlin.
“We wanted to find players at the draft that could step in right away and find players at that position (forward) that could probably make the jump to junior A, but if they have to go back to midget would be ready to jump in the following year,” said assistant coach Chad McDavid. “That was our focus going in, trying to solidify up front. I think we did that.”
Not only did the Crushers draft a number of strong forwards, but they also brought a few in via trades they made throughout the weekend. The younger forward they brought in was 17-year-old Luc Poirier from the Bridgewater Lumberjacks. They gave up Makail Parker, but gained Porier, who led the NSMMHL regular season in scoring with 15 goals and 52 points in 34 games with the Halifax McDonalds.
They also picked up Daniel Walsh, 20, who played with the Amherst Ramblers last season. Walsh had 14 goals and 29 points in 29 games. The Crushers sent their 2014 first round pick and Tanner McCabe to Amherst for Walsh.
In the process they traded away Brandon Parsons, 20, who would’ve been in his final season with the Crushers as a forward had he returned. Instead Pictou County received a third round pick this year and in 2015, plus future considerations for Parsons from Woodstock.
“Brandon is a very good hockey player and we would’ve loved to have seen him back with us this year, but at the end of the season Brandon indicated to us that if there was an opportunity for him to get back to New Brunswick and play as a 20-year-old then he would appreciate us looking into it,” said McDavid. “When Daniel Walsh became available we felt that he could come in and replace Brandon, so we explored some options and Woodstock stepped up to show some interest.”
The Crushers also moved Darryl MacCallum to Bridgewater for future considerations prior to their final trade of the weekend.
Their final moved brought in defenceman Willie MacDonald from Amherst for the playing rights to Ryan Yould and a third round pick in 2015. Last season MacDonald had 13 assists in 37 regular season games with the Ramblers.
One position Pictou County wasn’t seriously looking at was goaltending. They’re excited to have Devan Tremblay, 20, return to the lineup. Last year in a backup role behind Brandon Thibeau he posted a 7-2-1 record in the regular season with a 1.77 GAA, 0.948 save percentage and three shutouts.
“Devan had an up and down year last year both on and off the ice, but when he was given the opportunity in the net he proved to us that he could play at a high level and get the job done against some of the stronger teams in our league,” said McDavid. “Before Devan went home for the summer we sat down and discussed where he thought he was and where we saw him next year. We both agreed that he’ll come in as our starter next year and it’s not his spot to lose by any means, but he’s going to be our guy and hopefully we’ll have a younger backup that will push him and make him work hard.”
Nick Orman (D, Halifax McDonalds) – Second round, 10th pick. Orman was Pictou County’s first pick of the 2014 draft. Last season he posted two goals and 10 points in 34 regular season games as a rookie with the McDonalds.
Jacob Hickey (F, Halifax McDonalds) – Third round, third pick. The 5’9 winger had 10 goals and 16 points in 31 regular season games with the McDonalds.
Declan Smith (F, Cape Breton West Islanders) - Third round, ninth pick. A 5’10 forward, he had 12 goals and 21 points in the 2013-14 NSMMHL regular season.
Michael Dill (F, Valley Wildcats) – Fourth round, 10th pick. Dill is a 5’9 forward who had 14 goals and 37 points in 33 regular season games last year.
Tristan Nordine (F, Cape Breton Tradesmen) – Fifth round, 11th pick. Nordine was third on the Tradesmen in regular season scoring with 13 goals and 25 points in 28 games.
Julian Galloway (G, Moncton Flyers) – Sixth round, second pick. Last season the 6’0 goaltender posted a 15-7-0 record season record with a 1.81 GAA, 0.925 save percentage and three shutouts.
Tyler Brown (F, Newbridge Gladiators) – Round eight, second pick. A right wing last season, the 5’8 Dartmouth native had five goals and 15 points in 30 regular season games with the Gladiators.
Brendan Humphreys (D, Cole Harbour Wolfpack) – Round eight, ninth pick. A 5’11 defenceman, he had four goals and 16 points in 34 regular season games with the Wolfpack.
Michael Evoy (F, Kensington Wild) – Round nine, second pick. Fifth on the Wild in regular season scoring, the 5’8 forward had seven goals and 21 points in 33 games.
Noah Whebby (F, Prince Andrew High School) – Round nine, fifth pick.
Weeks Midgets selected
Michael Stuart – Selected by Truro in the seventh round with the 12th pick.
Lucas Holman – Selected by Yarmouth in the eighth round with the eighth pick.