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It seems to me like the Saint John Sea Dogs have made their preparations for life without top goalie Alex D’Orio.
The Sea Dogs sent a conditional 2020 10th-round pick to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Thursday for veteran neminder Mikhail Denisov. With highly-regarded Tommy DaSilva also in the mix in net, the team now has three players capable of playing regularly.
Of course, there is a finite amount of ice time to go around so it doesn’t seem realistic to keep that many goalies for the rest of the season. It’s also true D’Orio is already signed to a pro contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins and, at 19 years old, isn’t likely to be back in the QMJHL next season.
D’Orio was already being mentioned as a probable trade target for contending teams so this gives the Sea Dogs the depth they need to accept offers, as Saint John general manager Trevor Georgie seemed to suggest in a news release.
“Adding Mikhail to our team gives us some flexibility and provides additional support for both Alex and Tommy,” Georgie said. “They have faced not only a lot of shots, but a lot of quality scoring chances. Mikhail gives us more experience at the position and at a minimal risk.”
The QMJHL trade period opens in less than a month.
WAHLSTROM EXPECTED TO CHANGE TEAMS
There was some interesting news from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News on Thursday, who reported Oliver Wahlstrom is looking to leave Boston College.
Wahlstrom is a star 18-year-old winger who was drafted 11th overall by the New York Islanders in June. He is from Maine and is in his freshman season at B.C. but the team is struggling.
Wahlstrom’s major junior rights are owned by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles but Kennedy says he is not interested in playing in the Q. It’s conceivable Wahlstrom would be moderately more interested in a team that has a better chance than Cape Breton of contending, especially since the league is hosting the Memorial Cup this year. Two teams will appear in the tournament — the host Halifax Mooseheads and whoever else qualifies during the playoffs.
Even with that said, it still sounds unlikely he will look at the Quebec league. Kennedy suggests a possible destination for Wahlstrom is the USHL’s Tri-City Storm or even the American Hockey League but it is at least worth keeping the Q in that hopper while his status is up in the air.
TEAM CANADA PICTURE COMING INTO FOCUS
After watching last week’s QMJHL-Russia games and speaking to a few scouts, it sounds like the list of potential Canadian world junior team candidates is mostly unchanged.
The folks I informally polled still believe Rimouski Oceanic star forward Alexis Lafreniere and defencemen Pierre-Olivier Joseph of the Charlottetown Islanders and Noah Dobson of the Bathurst Titan are the only locks to be invited to the upcoming selection camp.
The two players who may have helped themselves the most are Drummondville Voltigeurs goalie Olivier Rodrigue and Mooseheads centre Bo Groulx. Rodrigue had a good presence in the Team QMJHL net and one scout said he liked the confident vibe Groulx projected. He is a versatile player who is having a strong season and can fill a lot of different roles in a world junior environment.
Mooseheads teammates Jared McIsaac, Antoine Morand and Raphael Lavoie also remain in the mix but didn’t necessarily help themselves in the Series games. The same could be said of Drummondville’s Joe Veleno and about a half dozen other Q prospects who will still be part of the conversation for Hockey Canada. There was a group of about 10 players who played fine but didn’t do anything to distinguish themselves, either.