The Metro Marauders had an eye on the Halifax Mooseheads’ depth chart when they went to work at the Maritime Junior Hockey League draft on the weekend.
The Marauders’ two biggest moves saw them acquire offensive defenceman Kyle Kavanaugh with the sixth overall pick and rugged right-winger Ryan Davis via a trade with the Yarmouth Mariners.
Both Kavanaugh and Davis were late-round picks of the Mooseheads in this year’s QMJHL draft.
“We liked that they were Mooseheads picks,” said Marauders head coach and general manager Troy Ryan. “It’s nice to have a relationship with (the Mooseheads) where maybe they’ll let (prospects) develop at the junior A level.”
Although junior A teams aren’t allowed to affiliate with QMJHL teams, the logical workaround is for them to draft similar players, as did the Marauders.
The benefit for the Marauders is getting quality players at ages 16 and 17 — and perhaps again at 20. The Mooseheads, meanwhile, get to monitor the progress of their draft picks in their own back yard.
“You have to work together,” Ryan said.
The six-foot,160-pound Kavanaugh had 28 points in 35 games with the Cape Breton Tradesmen major midgets last season.
Davis, a five-foot-seven, 199-pound wrecking ball, had 34 points and 127 penalty minutes in 35 games for the Dartmouth Subways major midgets. Ryan said “you won’t find many kids tougher” than Davis.
Davis came over from Yarmouth with goaltender Alex Newman and 20-year-old defenceman John Hubley for forward Matthew Miller and future considerations.
Newman, a former Halifax McDonald’s major midget star, could be “very good if given an opportunity,” Ryan said. Hubley, meanwhile, was an assistant captain in Yarmouth and gives the Marauders blue-line stability.
Ryan said Marauders’ newfound depth means there is no pressure for the weekend’s draft acquisitions to step right in.
“It’s fine if they have to go back to midget and develop more,” Ryan said. “There’s no rush to squeeze them into junior A prematurely.”
The Maritime Junior A Hockey League has tweaked its brand. The circuit has dropped the “A” from its name and will now be known as the Maritime Junior Hockey League. It also plans to adopt the acronym MHL. The league’s board of governors unanimously approved the name change on Friday in Bridgewater. A new logo, featuring three stars that represent each of the Maritime provinces, was also unveiled.