Aces active as MHL trade deadline approaches
- Updated: January 9, 2017
The St Stephen Aces had a busy weekend leading up to the Maritime Hockey League’s Tuesday, Jan. 10 trade deadline.
Facing the challenge of improving immediately while also adding pieces for the future, the Aces made several moves to strengthen themselves on both offence and defence, landing impact players in exchange for picks and prospects. The Aces are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. Head Coach and General Manager Josh Hepditch said his team is pushing for a post season berth.
“It’s going to be tough but with the recent acquisitions our team is better now than we were yesterday,” he said. “We have been able to add three big pieces to our group without having to move any of our roster players.”
The MHL trade deadline is Tuesday at 10pm.
On Monday morning, the Aces confirmed a trade of their 2017 5th round pick and Pierre Bourgoin to the Amherst Ramblers for Alex Lafrenière.
“Alex is a dynamic young player who has a huge upside,” Hepditch said.
Lafrenière has appeared in 13 games this year with the Saint John Sea Dogs where he has put up three points. He has had a successful start to his Junior A career and Hepditch believes he will fit in with the Aces identity of speed and skill.
He played last season with the Saint John Vito’s Midget AAA and was part of the Telus Cup run.
“That’s experience you can’t teach. We are hoping he can bring some of that experience to our group. Alex and (current Aces forward) Ben Reid were linemates last year and played very well together. I hope they can find that instant chemistry here in St. Stephen,” Hepditch said.
On Sunday, the Aces announced a pair of deals. They traded their 2017 2nd round pick (Miramichi) and 2017 3rd round pick plus future considerations to the Summerside Western Capitals for 18-year-old F Casey Fox.
“Casey is a player who has steadily improved every year. He has a good offensive upside and has proved he can score at every level,” said Hepditch.
“I had the opportunity to watch Casey in the Moncton Wildcats training camp and he was very impressive.”
Hepditch said Fox will give the team some spark up front.
“He will fit in well with our group and add to our youth and speed. He is very excited to be part of the Aces family and can’t wait to get things going.”
The Aces also made a move to get stronger in their own zone by trading 2017 6th and 8th round picks (Miramichi) for 20-year-old Jackson Atkinson from the Campbellton Tigers.
“We are excited to have Jackson join our team for the second half. You can never have enough D,” said Hepditch.
“Jackson is a 6’3″ big body D man who will help our young defence core. He has experience in the league and will be a tough player to play against.”
Hepditch said Monday that the Aces are likely done trading but will continue to listen and look for ways to improve.
“Trades are part of the game and the business. As a GM you always want to make your team better without sacrificing to much of the future and we feel we have done that so far.”
UPDATE: Jan 9 – 10:23pm
The St. Stephen Aces have traded F Frédéric Dubuc to the South Shore Lumberjacks for future considerations. Head Coach and General Manager Josh Hepditch said the trade will give Dubuc a chance for more playing time as the St. Stephen forward ranks were getting crowded after recent trades.
“We thank Fred for all he did while he as with us and wish him well in South Shore,” Hepditch said.