The Halifax Mooseheads completed some paperwork yesterday to strengthen their lineup for the coming season.
The Mooseheads sent a seventh-round draft choice to the Saint John Sea Dogs to secure the services of 19-year-old center Matthew Stoddard, a Porters Lake native who was trying out for the team on a conditional basis.
They also received a commitment from 17-year-old defence prospect Stephen Gillard, a gifted puck-mover who had a scholarship at the University of Maine.
Stoddard, a former second-round pick who has just 22 points in 128 career games in the QMJHL, has been “one of (Halifax’s) top three forwards since camp started, according to head coach and general manager Cam Russell.
“The biggest thing is he’s not one-dimensional,” Russell said. “He’s done a lot of things well. Defensively, he understands the game and he’s a real good setup guy. If you put him with good hockey players, he can have success.”
The Mooseheads took a flyer on Gillard in the 11th round (181st overall) in June’s draft. The 5-foot-10, 184-pounder had four goals and 10 assists for 14 points in 21 games with the St. John’s Fog Devils midget AAA team last season.
Gillard is known for his smooth skating ability and drew a comparison from Russell to one of the Mooseheads’ all-time best on the blue-line, Andrew Bodnarchuk.
“He’s a lot like Bodnarchuk,” Russell said. “No disrespect to Bodnarchuk, but Gillard has a little more creativity and offensive savvy once he gets over the blue-line.”
The Mooseheads also cut five players yesterday, shrinking their roster size to 42. Gone are two draft choices -- forward Brett Bernard and goalie Stefan Dumaresque -- as well as tryouts Matt Myers, Maxime Nadeau and Jonathan Pelletier.
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