Troy Ryan’s fingerprints are all over the Halifax Lions after the Maritime Junior A Hockey League draft.
The Lions’ new head coach and general manager pulled off three trades on Saturday in Amherst — bringing in veterans Dan Joyce, Travis Perry and Shane Robar — and selected Halifax native Christopher Riguse second overall.
Joyce, who Ryan estimates is one of the top three players in the league, and the rest of the acquisitions should help the Lions improve on a dismal 10-win season.
“It’s a drastically different team today,” Ryan said afterward. “We fixed a lot in a short period of time.”
Joyce is a point-per-game player and Perry is a two-time 20-goal scorer. The 20-year-olds played for the Dieppe Commandos last season and went to the Fred Page Cup.
The 19-year-old Robar, a former Dartmouth Subways defenceman, came over from the Amherst Ramblers.
The Lions surrendered a handful of quality picks in the trades but only one player off last year’s roster.
“The Dan Joyce deal was big,” said Ryan. “… in one day we got substantially better offensively and still had five or six draft picks and we added a lot of local guys.”
Riguse, a five-foot-nine forward, had 33 points in 32 games last season with the Cole Harbour McCain major midgets. He’s a Cape Breton Screaming Eagles draft pick but could make an impact with the Lions if he doesn’t play in the QMJHL.
“He’s gritty but he’s skilled as well and that’s rare for the midget league here,” Ryan said.
“Usually, you’re one or the other, an offensive guy or an in-your-face gritty style. He’s one of the only guys in the draft who plays both.”