The Halifax Mooseheads have started the season 2-0 and it is already known that they have already punched their ticket to the Memorial Cup in May 2019, as they were awarded the tournament as the host City last October. In my last article on Halifax, I outlined the season outlook for the team and mentioned how they may make trades down the line to stock up for a big run this season. With NHL Drafted players such as Filip Zadina and Otto Somppi still away at NHL Camp, it is seeming more and more likely that Halifax is preparing to play this season without them.
Zadina has a good chance to play with the Red Wings this season in the same way that the Barrie Colts’ Andrew Svechnikov is preparing to play in Carolina. Svechnikov was drafted 2nd overall in the most recent NHL Draft, followed by Filip Zadina being taken by the Red Wings at #6. Somppi seems set to play in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch.
On Monday, a trade was announced that will bring 19-year-old winger Ostap Safin, an Edmonton Oiler 4th round pick, to the Mooseheads from the Saint John Sea Dogs. The deal also includes a 4th round pick going to Halifax in exchange for the Mooseheads 1st round pick in 2020. Safin is 6’5 from the Czech Republic and comes to the QMJHL via the Import draft where he was drafted 53rd overall in 2017.
The Mooseheads had an Import spot open so now they have filled both spots with Safin and Benoit-Olivier Groulx from France.
This is the 2nd trade that the Mooseheads have made in the last week. On Friday, Halifax GM Cam Russell acquired 20-year-old Samuel Asselin from Acadie-Bathurst. In exchange, Halifax sends prospects D Cole Larkin and F Yannic Bastarache along with the Mooseheads’ 2nd round pick in 2019.
Halifax is already ranked as the #1 team in the CHL Overall Rankings that come out every month: http://theqmjhl.ca/article/chl-pre-season-top-10-takeaways . This trade will only enhance that, even if it takes several weeks for this team to gel and find chemistry playing with each other. It is interesting to see these trades happen so early in the season as sometimes teams wait to unload their veteran players until Christmas, or after the trade deadline in order to recoup more draft picks.
Without Zadina and Somppi, the Mooseheads are still incredibly stacked with talent:
C Antoine Morand 19: 2nd round to Anaheim Ducks in 2017 – Also acquired from AB Titan in the off-season
RW Jordan Maher 20: Acquired from AB Titan in offseason
C Samuel Asselin 20: Acquired from AB Titan last week (Third player acquired by Halifax from AB Titan)
W Ostap Safin 19: 4th round to Edmonton Oilers in 2017
LW Arnaud Durandeau 19: 6th round to NY Islanders in 2017
D Jared McIsaac 18: 2nd round to Detroit Red Wings in 2018
D Jocktan Chainey 20: 7th round to NJ Devils in 2017
D Jake Ryczek 20: 7th round to the Chicago Blackhawks in2016
G Alexis Gravel 18: 6th round to Chicago Blackhawks in 2018
Rising Youngsters: D Justin Barron, Xavier Parent, Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Raphael Lavoie, Samuel Dube are all high drafted prospects with lots of skill!
It is pretty silly looking at this roster. An exorbitant amount of talent. They will battle with Drummondville for the top-ranked team in the Q for sure.
Oh yeah, another crazy stat with this team is that they are getting a brand new ice slab to their arena Scotiabank Centre. Therefore, they will start their season with 15 games on the road before their arena is ready to be played in. Perhaps this is why the team is making all these early season trades to battle the grind of life on the road. It should be a fun year to follow “The Herd.”
For any of you who are interested, I have found that the best site for finding stats for OHL teams and player info is to use EliteProspects.com. I have no affiliation to the site, I just want to increase interest and help people looking for quick and reliable stats. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnnyBravo_05.