‘Anything can happen’ as Herd readies for draft - Metro US

‘Anything can happen’ as Herd readies for draft

It’s not a fire sale, but anything can go.

That’s the way Halifax Mooseheads head coach and general manager Cam Russell is approaching trade talks this weekend in Drummondville, Que.

“We’re not looking to go in there and move somebody just to move them,” Russell said. “We don’t have one or two guys on the table saying, ‘We’ve got to trade these guys.’”

There are players Russell would rather not move — Gabriel Desjardins, Travis Randell, Brent Andrews and Konrad Abeltshauser, to name a few — but it’s hard to categorize anybody as untouchable.

Russell made a splash last year when he dealt stalwart defender Gabriel O’Connor to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies for the 15th overall pick, which he used to select Brent Andrews.

That sort of thing could happen again this year, depending on what comes Russell’s way. He needs scoring forwards and has more depth at defence and goal. That puts him in a position to reshape his roster by moving a blue-liner such as Garrett Clarke or a goaltender such as Mathieu Corbeil, if someone made him the right offer.

Russell also boasts some appealing over-agers, particularly No. 1 defenceman Pascal Amyot and captain Tomas Knotek.

“We’re not gonna force anything,” Russell said. “If O’Connor would have only gotten us a second-round pick last year, we wouldn’t have traded him. The deal has to be right for us to do it and we’re definitely going into this with our eyes wide open.”

Russell’s biggest bargaining chip is his second overall pick, not to mention four other selections in the top 37. While he could try to trade up to get No. 1, he’ll likely field plenty of offers from teams looking to move up to No. 2.

In a nutshell, it should be a fun weekend for Mooseheads fans eager for something exciting to happen after two last-place finishes.

As Russell put it: “Anything can happen on draft day.”

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