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Mooseheads add scorers via draft

The Halifax Mooseheads spiked their scoring punch at the QMJHL draft in Drummondville, Que., on Saturday.

The Halifax Mooseheads spiked their scoring punch at the QMJHL draft in Drummondville, Que., on Saturday.

After taking top-rated left-winger Luca Ciampini second overall, the Mooseheads proceeded to grab two more offence-first forwards in six-foot-three centre Andrew Ryan with the 19th pick and five-foot-eight right-winger Darcy Ashley with the 25th.

It’s no secret the rebuilding Mooseheads’ biggest need is offence, and they made sure they didn’t leave the draft floor without it.

“Down the road, at age 18, all three of those players could be in the top 10 in scoring in terms of goals — in the league,” said Mooseheads chief Atlantic scout Allie MacDonald. “All three bring goal-scoring, which is no question what we need.”

Ciampini’s scoring ability is well documented. Ryan, meanwhile, is a rangy centre from Paradise, N.L., who spent last season with the midget AAA Notre Dame (Sask.) Hounds, recording 43 points in 42 games. The Mooseheads had him ranked in their top five for most of the season.

“From a pure skill-set perspective, he could go a long way,” MacDonald said. “He has silky hands and he’s six-foot-three. He’s at a raw state in his career but Vincent Lecavalier was like that at the same age as well.”

Ryan, who slipped slightly in Halifax’s ranking after his production slowed in the playoffs, is close friends with current Mooseheads Steve Gillard and Travis Randell, who are both from Newfoundland.

“It was kind of my plan coming in here, to hopefully get drafted by (the Mooseheads) and play for them, so I’m looking forward to it,” Ryan said. “Hopefully I’ll have a good training camp and crack their roster next season.”

Ashley piled up an impressive 67 points in 46 games as a 16-year-old with the junior A Summerside (P.E.I.) Western Capitals. Although he has made an NCAA commitment to the Maine Black Bears, the Mooseheads think he’ll report to training camp and consider him QMJHL-ready.

“He was one of the better power-play guys in junior A and he’s great off the side wall,” MacDonald said.

Added Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell: “He’s the type of player who will come in at 17 and contribute right away.”

Not to be forgotten is centre/right-winger Francis Turbide, who the Mooseheads grabbed with the first pick of the third round (37th overall). He was ranked as a sixth-to-eighth-round prospect, but Russell said as many as 15 teams were chasing him much higher.

At six-foot-three and 177 pounds, Turbide averaged a point-per-game as captain of midget AAA Trois-Rivieres last season and at age 17 should be ready to step in on Halifax’s fourth line.

“He could be a Travis Randell type with a little more offensive upside,” Russell said.

Turbide, a former teammate of Mooseheads winger Carl Gelinas, prides himself in a two-way game.

“I’m a player who can play both ways,” he said. “I’m someone who loves to have the puck in the offensive zone but I can also be a good player in my D-zone.”

The Mooseheads say they didn’t abandoned the best-player-available philosophy. If Ciampini had been off the board at No. 2, they probably would have taken defenceman Dominic Poulin.

But when quality forwards fell into their laps with their top picks, they couldn’t say no — and left the draft floor beaming because of it.

“If your cupboard needs tea and you have lots of coffee, you go out to the store and you buy some tea,” said MacDonald. “With our high picks, we got some kids who can step in, and collectively as a group, they know how to put the puck in the net.”

Check out Metro's Q Files blog for scouting reports on all of the Mooseheads drafted in the first five rounds, as well as the prospects taken in the sixth round and beyond. The Q Files blog also features a complete post-draft wrap-up.

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