NEW GLASGOW – It’s early, but the Pictou County Weeks Crushers management is feeling upbeat about their prospects for next season.
That optimism stems from draft choices and trades that the Crushers Feel will help restore them to prominence in the MHL after the league’s draft weekend in Edmundston, N.B.
The Crushers acquired six players through the draft and added two others as territorial picks while acquired four other players through trades.
The big deal featured the host Edmundston Blizzard dealing Sam LeBlanc, Max Grandmaison, a first-round pick and a sixth-round pick to the Crushers for Isaac Chapman, Chad Wilson and first-round picks for 2019 and 2020.
The Crushers also acquired Sullivan Sparkes from the Summerside Western Capitals to complete an earlier trade and received Jack Morris from the newly minted Fredericton Red Wings for Logan Carruthers.
Paul Norman was dealt to Fredericton for a fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft.
“Although it’s always tough moving players out of your lineup, on most occasions to acquire the quality of players we have to move quality players,” Crushers assistant coach and general manager said. “Over the weekend we were able to add experience, scoring and players with winning backgrounds. We were very happy with the weekend.”
“Without question, Sullivan Sparkes and Sam LeBlanc should be two of top 20 year olds in the MHL next year,” he said. “Sparkes played a key role in Summerside success last season. He’s a competitor who is hard to play against and proved last season that he can hurt on the scoreboard scoring 44 points in 33 games.
LeBlanc is considered a highly skilled forward who makes the players around him better. He was a member of the 2016-17 Saint John Sea Dogs that captured the QMJHL Presidents Cup.
Grandmaison is a power forward who has collected 31 goals over the last two seasons with Edmundston and won an MHL Championship with the Blizzard in his rookie season.
Morris was selected second overall in the 2018 MHL draft. He is considered a mobile blueliner who plays a consistent game.
He averaged a point per game for the CB West Islanders before joining the former St. Stephen Aces last year. He also won a Telus Cup with the CB West Islanders in 2016-17.
The Crushers drafted defenceman Conor Shortall from the East Coach Blizzard in the first round, chose rearguard Adam MacDonald of the Cole Harbour Wolfpack in the third round and took forwards Dylan Schofield from the Valley Wildcats and Dave Matthews from the Islanders in the fifth round.
Forwards Drew Langdon from the Western Kings in the sixth round and Matt Burden from the C.P. Allen Cheetahs in the eighth round were also drafted.