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Clarke a deal Russell ‘couldn’t refuse’

"We’ve done lots of homework and gotten a lot of different opinions from a lot of different people. He seems like he’ll fit right in."

MONCTON — Halifax Mooseheads general
manager Cam Russell has talked a lot about the character he is seeking
to rebuild his franchise. Does newly-acquired defenceman Garrett Clarke
fit the mold?


“We certainly hope so,”
Russell said Friday at the Delta Beausejour in Moncton after unveiling
his first-ever trade.


“You never know what you’ve
got until you get it but we’ve done lots of homework and gotten a
lot of different opinions from a lot of different people. He seems like
he’ll fit right in.”


Clarke, a 17-year-old who was
drafted sixth overall last year, was acquired from the Lewiston Maineiacs
for 19-year-old forward Alexis Piette and a seventh-round pick. He requested
a trade after a solid rookie season and Halifax was his preferred destination.


The Windsor-born, Moncton-raised
blue-liner ruffled feathers last year when stated he wouldn’t attend
the Q draft because he intended to go the NCAA route. But when Lewiston
picked him, he appeared out of nowhere at the draft and confirmed he
would report to the Q.


The comment from Maineiacs
president and head coach Don MacAdam on whether Clarke has any off-ice
concerns was simply, “Nothing significant. Nothing more than most
16-year-olds.”


From an on-ice perspective,
the Mooseheads are landing a star-calibre defenceman who some have compared
to Kevin Marshall. One rival GM thought the Mooseheads should have sacrificed
a higher pick along with Piette, while another raved about Clarke’s
upside.


MacAdam complimented Clarke
on his “NHL shot” and “mean streak,” evidenced by a 12-game
suspension last season.


“He’s a physical defenceman
and he has offensive flair,” said Russell, who sees Clarke in his
top-four immediately. “You’re getting an all-around player you’re
going to have for at least three years.”


The 6-foot-3, 204-pound Piette
wasn’t easy to trade.

Although he was a ninth-round pick who nearly
got cut at training camp, he had 35 points as a rookie and won more
than 55 per cent of his faceoffs. He dominated at times in the final
two months of the season.


“You’re not going to get
something for nothing,” said Russell, who commended Piette for his
work ethic. “We were really happy with Alex, but defence is where
we want to start building our team and bringing in a player of Garrett’s
calibre is a deal we couldn’t refuse.”


For
live coverage of Saturday’s draft, follow @metroqfiles on Twitter
or visit the Q Files blog at
www.metronews.ca/qfiles.

 
 
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