The Halifax Mooseheads will get a taste of things to come against two Atlantic Division rivals this weekend.

The young, rebuilding Mooseheads, who open the QMJHL season on the road Friday against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and Sunday against the P.E.I. Rocket, are in the middle of what should be a hotly-contested division that also features the Moncton Wildcats and Saint John Sea Dogs.

All four opponents could be among the league’s elite. The Mooseheads play 32 of their 68 games against those teams, a substantial obstacle in their playoff bid.

“They’re all going to have good teams and they’ve all been building these teams for awhile,” said Mooseheads head coach and general manager Cam Russell. “It’s going to be challenging. It will be a good test for all of our players.”

The Mooseheads missed the playoffs last season in part because of their inability to beat Atlantic Division foes. They lost 22 of 24 games against Moncton, P.E.I. and Cape Breton.

Helping the Mooseheads’ cause this weekend is the fact that the Screaming Eagles and Rocket will be shorthanded because players are away at NHL training camps.

The Mooseheads will be without leading scorer Tomas Knotek, who is trying out with the Minnesota Wild. Defenceman Garrett Clarke (groin) and forward Gerrad Grant (wrist) are injured. Rookie defenceman Konrad Abeltshauser was cleared to play after suffering a suspected concussion last Friday.