The Last Line Of Defence

By Larry Bradley
The Brampton Battalion hockey club have made a bold move in their charge towards a playoff birth. Just before the 6 p.m. trade deadline on Wednesday (01/10/01), Battalion Head Coach and G.M. Stan Butler announced the acquisition of Barrie Colts veteran goaltender Brian Finley. Finley, when 100%, may be the final piece of the puzzle for an already talented Brampton club. Last years OHL Playoff MVP has been sidelined with a groin injury since early December and played in only 16 games for the Colts this season. The Sault Ste. Marie native will join his new club Thursday and may not dress for Friday’s game against the London Knights. There is no word as to when he will see his first start for Brampton. The deal also sent the Battalion Mississauga’s seventh round pick in the 2001 OHL Priority Selection and Kitchener’s fourth rounder in 2002.

In return, the Colts receive backstop David Chant, blueliner Tyler Hanchuck and pivot Matt Grennier. Chant, Hanchuck and Grennier are all expected to join the Colts for this weekend’s trio of games starting Friday night in Sudbury.

Finley’s OHL experience should be a great asset in the development of up-and-coming keeper Brad Topping. Look for Topping to take on the starting position until Finley returns from his groin injury. On paper, Brampton has one of the best looking teams in the league. Two top 10 picks in the 2000 NHL entry draft (D-Rostislav Klesla, COLM 4th / LW-Raffi Torres, NYI 5th) and two of the top 20 North American skaters projected in 2001 (D-Jay Harrison, 7th / C-Jay McClement, 20th). The addition of a healthy Finley will bring invaluable post-season leadership and solidify the defensive end of the rink. Watch out for the Battalion when they get all their regular troops in the line up. With this trade I expect Brampton to take a serious run come playoff time.


PLAYERS INVOLVED

Traded to the Brampton Battalion (along with 2 OHL priority selections)

Brian Finley, Goalie Height: 6'3" Weight: 181 lbs. Born: July 3,1981 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. NHL: Nashville Predators (1st Round, 6th Overall - 1999 NHL Entry Draft) Awards: 97-98 CHL All Rookie Team 97-98 / 98-99 OHL Scholastic Team 98-99 OHL "Goaltender of the Year" 99-00 OHL Playoff MVP OHL Career Stats 97-98 Colts 41 2154 2.92 23 14 1 3 .909 98-99 Colts 52 3123 2.61 36 10 4 3 .913 99-00 Colts 47 2540 3.07 24 12 6 2 .908 00-01 Colts 16 818 3.08 5 8 0 0 .904 OHL Totals 156 8635 2.93 88 44 11 8 .908 Traded to the Barrie Colts David Chant, Goalie Height: 6'0" Weight: 188 lbs. Born: March 26,1981 - Toronto, Ont. OHL: 5th Round, 87th Overall, Brampton - 1998 NHL: Eligible 2001 OHL CAREER STATS* Year GP MIN GA AVG 98-99 46 2492 191 4.60 99-00 51 2791 140 3.01 00-01 29 1706 88 3.09 Totals 126 6990 419 3.40 *all stats as Brampton Battalion Tyler Hanchuck, Defence Height: 6'3" Weight: 210 lbs. Born: February 7,1982 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. OHL: 2nd Round, 21st Overall, Brampton - 1998 NHL: 3rd Round, 79th Overall, Montreal - 2000 NHL Entry Draft OHL CAREER STATS* Year GP G A P PIM 98-99 57 0 3 3 87 99-00 58 0 8 8 81 00-01 40 1 5 6 55 Totals 155 1 16 17 223 *all stats as Brampton Battalion Matt Grennier, Centre Height: 6'1" Weight: 186 lbs. Born: March 20,1983 - Winnipeg, MN. OHL: 2nd Round, 22nd Overall, Brampton - 1999 NHL: Eligible 2001 OHL CAREER STATS* Year GP G A P PIM 99-00 58 7 3 10 23 00-01 32 4 6 10 13 Totals 90 11 9 20 36 *all stats as Brampton Battalion