That’s what the Moncton Wildcats need.
The Cats have all the talent in the world, but do they need more toughness?
There’s a big difference between running around hitting people, being a goon, dropping the gloves and being tough to play against.
Sure the Wildcats are looking for a Top 6 scoring forward, but in the back of their minds they must be thinking about adding some toughness, sandpaper or grit to their wish list as the all important QMJHL trade period approaches.
Talent and grit, that’s a hard combination to find, but if the Cats want to go all the way they better be sure to address it.
Come from behind victories build and reveal character, but last nights game is a perfect indication that the Cats need more push back.
They need to be more physical.
They need to be a team that can play any style of game.
Sure they need to play playoff hockey every night, but they need to be tough to play against.
The Sherbrooke Phoenix are a very heavy and skilled hockey club.
Don’t get me wrong they have some holes in their line up as with regards to their backend especially. In my opinion the Phoenix need another skilled puck moving defencemen and an elite level scorer to put them over the top.
As for the Cats, the question people should be asking right now is what players are out there that will get them over the top?
What player or players are going to provide grit and skill and be tough to play against?
I’ve thrown names like Jared McIsaac, Beniot-Olivier Groulx and Shawn Element out there for a while now as possible trade targets, but that’s what makes the next month and half so intriguing for the Cats.
Sure you have to add scoring, but you also have to add grit and toughness and how much are you willing to leverage for a possible two-way forward to guarantee that you are tough to play against.
As for the backend, in my opinion the Cats D-corps struggled last night.
Just for a minute look beyond the flashy offensive skill and talent which of course ranks up there amongst the tops of the league, but what pairing on the current Cats roster is your shut down pairing?
That’s a hard question to answer right now.
I’m not criticising individual players, but let’s be realistic or brutally honest as it stands the Moncton Wildcats need two more left shooting defencemen that can skate, move the puck and play in a shut down role.
That style of defencemen don’t necessarily grow on trees.
With so many teams aiming at a load and go scenario, the Cats choice(s) on the backend will probably be the ultimately be the deciding factor in winning a championship(s).
That’s just crazy ass pressure if you think about it, but that’s the reality right now.
Sherbrooke, Rimouski, Chicoutimi, and Cape Breton will all be looking to add defencemen come the trade period. So if you are the Moncton Wildcats you better make sure you have the right player on your radar that not only fits the grit component, but isn’t going to take away from the mobility and transitional element of the hockey club.
Another question that I’m sure is weighing on the minds of the Wildcats brain trust right now is the possible threat of facing a Cape Breton or Charlottetown in the first round of the playoffs.
That’s no easy bargain given their goaltending, physicality and compete level.
You can load up all you want, but if you don’t have an “Element” of grit and toughness come playoff time you might be the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.
True grit, that’s what the Moncton Wildcats need, but for now it’s open audition time for a number of players.
- Axel Andersson struggled in his own zone last night at times. The Boston Bruins 2nd rounder might have been trying to generate too much offence at times, and looked to be not as in control like he was in previous games.
- Jeremy McKenna is going to start scoring goals at wicked pace. The Summerside Sniper is getting a lot of really good looks 5 on 5, but needs to be more selective with the man advantage. The overage winger looks to be forcing it right now on the power play.
- Olivier Rodrigue has been caught in between a lot this season. In my opinion the Edmonton Oilers prospect needs to refine his movements and challenge more. At various times the nineteen year old has been caught very deep and has been susceptible to the bad goal. Nevertheless, when all the stakes are down the veteran netminder has made some game saving stops.
- Last night was Alexander Khovanov’s best game as a Moncton Wildcat. The Minnesota Wild prospect played inspired and was outstanding in all three zones. https://twitter.com/Eags37/status/1186832584225054721?s=20