The Cobourg Cougars weren’t busy as the CJHL national trade deadline came
and went on Jan. 10, but the moves they made were significant as the 2017
RBC Cup hosts gear up for the start of the postseason.
Cougars general manager Brent Tully pulled off a pair of deals on deadline
day, adding a veteran defenceman and a highly-touted young forward to his
third-place (as of Jan. 10) team.
The first saw Cobourg acquire blue-liner Nick Minerva from the BCHL’s
Surrey Eagles in exchange for future considerations, picking up a
20-year-old with plenty of postseason experience.
Minerva, who was in his first season in Surrey, spent the previous two
seasons with the Fort Frances Lakers, winning back-to-back SIJHL
championships in 2015 and 2016, and coming within one win of reaching the
RBC Cup in 2015.
“He's certainly one of the guys we've had our eye on for some time this
year,” Tully told Northumberland Today. “We were quite happy to
“We were comfortable with the guys that we have [on defence], but if you
have an opportunity to improve yourself back there, I don't think you can
have enough [depth].”
Defence and goaltending have been a strength all season for the Cougars;
their 94 goals against rank second in the OJHL, and netminder Stefano
Durante sits second in the league in goals-against average (2.03) and sixth
in save percentage (.923).
Acquiring the 20-year-old Minerva forced Cobourg to make another deal and
keep the Cougars at nine overagers.
Hunter Atchison, the Cougars’ fourth-leading scorer with 37 points (19
goals, 18 assists) in 38 games, was the odd man out, shipped to the
Burlington Cougars for 17-year-old Josh Cammalleri.
“We felt he was the best return in a move that we ultimately had to make,”
Tully said of Cammalleri, who earned an invite to Canada East selection
camp ahead of the 2016 World Junior A Challenge, and was one of the six
OJHL skaters to appear on the latest Players to Watch list from NHL Central
Cammalleri had 12 goals and 11 assists in 31 games with Burlington.
The Cougars made another move a few days before the deadline, adding
veteran forward Jake Bricknell, who had spent the last three-plus seasons
in the Ontario Hockey League, most recently with the Guelph Storm.
Cobourg is entering the stretch run of the OJHL season, with just 14 games
left (as of Jan. 12) before the postseason, and the Road to the RBC Cup,
The Cougars currently sit third in the East Division, and the North East
Conference, with a 29-9-0-2 record, three points back of the Whitby Fury
for second place, and 10 points behind the defending league champion
Trenton Golden Hawks for first.