Offence the main focus for Moose - Metro US

Offence the main focus for Moose

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

“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.”

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.

Ashley is extremely dangerous on the power play.

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

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

All four have a realistic chance of donning a Mooseheads’ jersey next season.

The Mooseheads also took stay-at-home defenceman Simon Desmarais in the second round (28th overall), but he could return to midget in the fall.

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