QMJHL: Halifax tinkers with roster

By Phil Laugher

With the 2003 Memorial Cup behind us, the teams in the QMJHL can now start
establishing their rosters for the 2003-04 season. The first event that will
work towards shaping next year’s rosters will be the QMJHL Midget Draft, on
Saturday, June 7th. Alongside the draft, and equally intriguing, is the annual
revolving door of trades between the teams, with potential contenders searching
for impact players at bargain-basement prices, while others seek to get whatever
they can in return for players who do not fit into their plans for the next

The fine-tuning project has already begun in earnest for the Halifax Mooseheads,
who have already completed one fairly significant trade, sending the team’s
playoff MVP in overage goaltender Guillaume Lavallee, as well as a 2004
fifth round draft pick, to the Rimouski Oceanic, for two draft picks in this
year’s draft (a third and fifth rounder), as well as two depth forwards in 18-year-old
Christopher Sorenson (39GP, 0-2-2, -29), and 18-year-old Jeremy Turgeon
(41GP, 6-9-15, -33). This trade not only gives the depleted Mooseheads more
capable players to fill out the roster in what is expected to be a re-tinkering
year for Halifax, it also provides them with a couple more valuable draft picks
in what is deemed to be a deep draft crop.

The wheeling and dealing will be far from finished, as Halifax is widely expected
to add another step towards completing a January trade with their provincial
rivals, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. The original trade brought overage
forward Stuart Macrae, offensive defenseman Steve Villeneuve,
and hard-hitting winger George Davis to the Mooseheads for defenseman
Patrick Gilbert, forward Jonathan Labelle, and defenders Nathan
and Adam Pardy. In part two of many more parts to follow in
this confusing trade, it is widely anticipated that defenseman Alexandre
, and forwards Marc-Andre Bernier and Francois-Pierre Guenette
will head to the Island to play for the Eagles, with an unidentified package
of players and picks coming back to Halifax in the pre-draft trade. The trade
is not nearly complete, as it is believed that some of those players will be
returned to Halifax at the 2004 Midget Draft. This will likely prove to be one
of many complicated trades in the Quebec League.

Two Mooseheads Sign NHL Contracts

Forward George Davis and defenseman Milan Jurcina both signed
NHL contracts this month, adding to a list of graduated former Mooseheads that
includes Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Colorado forward Alex Tanguay,
Pittsburgh forward Ramzi Abid, and Phoenix forward Ladislav Nagy.

Davis, a fifth-round selection in the 2002 NHL draft, signed a three-year
entry-level contract with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks during the Mooseheads deep
playoff run. His progression from enforcer with marginal skill to being a hard-hitting
forward with solid hockey sense played an integral role in his signing a contract.
He will likely play for the Ducks AHL farm team in Cincinnati.

Jurcina, selected in the eighth round of the 2001 NHL draft, was an eleventh-hour
signing by the Boston Bruins, agreeing to terms on a massive three-year, $2.75
million dollar contract on May 28th. The hulking Slovakian defenseman, who was
a late cut from Boston’s 2002 training camp, brings a great physical presence
and a booming shot from the point to the Bruins blue-line. He will likely play
for the Providence Bruins in the 2003-04 season.

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