Despite sitting atop the Maritime Hockey League standings and holding on to a top five spot in the CJHL national Top 20 rankings, the Summerside Western Capitals were among the busiest teams as the national trade deadline came and went Jan. 10.
In all, the 2013 RBC Cup hosts made six deals on Deadline Day, bringing in five new faces – a goaltender, two defencemen and two forwards – while losing just two players off a roster that has posted a league-leading 28-6-2 record.
“It was a good couple of days for us,” Capitals general manager Pat McIver told the Summerside Journal-Pioneer. “Overall, we feel we got a lot deeper.”
Already strong in goal with Jacob Riley, who ranks third in the MHL in minutes played, wins and goals-against average, the Capitals signed netminder Kevin Bailie, who had played the majority of the minutes this season for the OHL-leading London Knights.
Bailie, who turned 21 on Jan. 3, posted an 18-4-1 record with a 2.50 goals-against average in 27 games with London.
“It kind of sprung up quick,” said McIver about Bailie’s signing. “London had signed a younger goaltender, and we had contacted him (Bailie) in the summer and he had our number. When things didn’t work out in London, he called us first, we were able to make it work and we’re excited to have him.”
With teams allowed only two 20-year-olds from outside the region, the Capitals had to make a move to make room for Bailie. They did that by trading defenceman Dale Deon to the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines for future considerations.
On the blue-line, McIver looked to Ontario for a pair of acquisitions, picking up Mike Crocock from the CCHL’s Pembroke Lumber Kings and Mackenzie Braid from the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves, both for future considerations.
Crocock, who represented Canada East at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge, had 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in 37 games with the Lumber Kings, while Braid had a goal and four assists in 19 games with Sudbury, his fourth OHL team in three seasons.
Up front, the Capitals swung a pair of deals with MHL rivals, acquiring Luke Warner from the Bridgewater Lumberjacks for a third-round pick in the 2013 MHL draft and future considerations, as well as JP Harvey from the Metro Shipbuilders in exchange for forward Justin Thomas and futures.
Warner put up 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 36 games with the Lumberjacks, while Harvey was almost a point-per-game player with Metro with 35 points, including 17 goals, in 36 games.
“He’s (Harvey) been Metro’s best player this season,” McIver said to the Journal-Pioneer. “We liked him any time we played against them. He also brings some grit to the table, is a hard worker and has an offensive touch.”
The Deadline Day frenzy capped off a busy few weeks for McIver, who made his biggest splash on Dec. 21 when he acquired MHL scoring leader Danny Chaisson from Dieppe for a package that included Steven Anderson, Isaac Jay, draft picks and future considerations.
“The commitment from the staff and ownership here in Summerside is unbelievable,” McIver told the Journal-Pioneer. “There has been a lot of time, effort and money put into this hockey team this year. The (fan) support has been good, but hopefully it gets better as we feel there are lots of exciting times ahead.”
Summerside, which is hosting the National Junior A Championship for a record third time, opens the 2013 RBC Cup on Saturday, May 11 when it takes on the Central Region champions.