The bubble is about to burst on the Halifax Mooseheads’ blue-line.
The Mooseheads enter their final two QMJHL pre-season games — both against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on the road tonight and at home on Friday — with one defenceman left to cut before finalizing their 2009-10 roster.
Among those under the microscope are 18-year-old returnee Alex MacDonald and rookies Sawyer Hannay, 17, and Jamie Bishop, 16. One of the three likely has to go.
“These games are crucial,” MacDonald said. “This is when all the weaker links are gone. We really have to do everything we can to prove ourselves to the coaches one last time.”
MacDonald, who had five assists in 49 games as a rookie last season, looked a little bit too comfortable in intra-squad action but has stepped up with a well-rounded game in the pre-season, perhaps realizing his job is far from secure.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Hannay has endeared himself to the team with his rugged, physical style. Bishop, drafted 19th overall in June, has the most upside of the three.
“We feel we have the best defence we’ve had in a while,” said Mooseheads head coach and general manager Cam Russell. “The competition has caused our defence to play better. It’s going to come down to some tough decisions.”
Up front, as many as two more cuts remain, with the microscope firmly on 18-year-olds Jordan Costello and Justin Belanger and 16-year-old rookie Matthew Boudreau.
Russell didn’t comment on specific battles but said “there’s no room for any player to be comfortable.”
“I can’t guarantee who’s going to be here and who’s not,” he said. “It’s up to (the players) the next two games.”