The Metro Marauders don’t have many picks in Saturday’s Maritime Junior A Hockey League draft in Bridgewater, but already say they got the best player available.
The Marauders, who pick sixth overall and don’t select again until late in the third round, grabbed Dartmouth Subways defenceman Mitchell Shewfelt with their territorial pick earlier this week and are trumpeting him as the equivalent of a No. 1 overall choice.
“He’s the best available player in the draft, anywhere,” said Marauders head coach and general manager Troy Ryan. “He’s a good kid, he’s competitive, he plays with grit, he keeps it simple, he has a hard, hard shot and he has offensive upside.”
The five-foot-nine, 172-pound Dartmouth native had 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points along with 79 penalty minutes in 32 games at the major midget level last season.
“If I had the first overall pick in the draft, I would have selected Mitchell Shewfelt,” Ryan said.
The Marauders have as many as 20 players eligible to return next season, including potential standouts John MacDonald and Wayne Bedecki up front and Jordan Thomas on the blue line. Starting goalie Kody Blois is considering going elsewhere to pursue an NCAA scholarship.
Ryan is hoping the Marauders can move another step closer to the top of the league after relocating to Dartmouth and casting aside their identity as the Halifax Lions.
Without many picks, that means he expects to be active on the trade front.
“We definitely will have some trades,” Ryan said. “I’m trying to add some local guys and I’ve scoured all the teams to see what they have. If I can find at least one local defenceman to add to our mix, I think we’ll be happy.”