As good as Mathieu Corbeil has been, the Halifax Mooseheads don’t want to throw him to the wolves.
The Mooseheads, who have seen flashes of greatness from the 18-year-old goaltender, acquired Bedford native Peter Delmas from the Quebec Remparts before Thursday’s QMJHL trade deadline to give Corbeil some veteran support.
With Halifax’s Atlantic Division rivals such as the Moncton Wildcats, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and Saint John Sea Dogs sporting frightening second-half rosters, Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell wanted the 19-year-old Delmas to come in and take some of the heat off Corbeil.
The cost — a 2011 sixth-round draft pick — sealed the deal.
“First of all, it was a good deal,” Russell said. “More important than that … we have a young group on defence and with Corbeil playing pretty much every game, he needs somebody who will be here, challenge him and push him and make him better. Delmas is a great kid to have on our hockey team.”
Corbeil, a highly-touted 2010 NHL draft prospect, had started 20 of the past 22 games and has an 8-24 record with a 3.75 goals-against average and a .884 save percentage. Rookie Joel Grondin, 17, struggled in limited backup duty.
Delmas, a second-round pick (61st overall) of the Colorado Avalanche in 2007, has a 15-9 record with a 3.15 goals-against average and a .897 save percentage.
He has battled a hip injury and fell out of favour with Remparts GM Patrick Roy, who had already replaced him with Antoine Tardif.
Russell said Delmas is “cleared and healthy,” although Delmas has said he is playing through the injury.
Russell wouldn’t quantify how Corbeil and Delmas will split starts but said Corbeil won’t be sitting on the bench as he did the second half of last season behind Mark Yetman.
“Whoever’s playing better is going to play,” Russell said.
“The move was made to help take the load off Corbeil. He’s not capable of playing all those games for us.”
The Halifax Mooseheads demoted goaltender Joel Grondin and forward Justin Belanger yesterday and will recall forwards Dylan McGuigan, Ryan Nickerson and defenceman Trey Lewis for home games Friday against the Montreal Juniors and Saturday against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and a road game Sunday against the Moncton Wildcats. They must submit their final 25-man roster to the QMJHL on Sunday.