Are the Moncton Wildcats finished or are they still targeting a few more players to add to their already lethal roster for their run at junior hockey supremacy?
As of right now the Wildcats have arguably two of the top three forwards available and arguably the best defencemen that was available during this year’s QMJHL Trade Period.
What other moves could they possibly make?
Do the Cats have anymore assets they could use to land another defencemen or another impact forward?
Right now one can only speculate, so let’s stick to what we know.
Ritchie Thibeau and the Wildcats Hockey Ops staff just landed
Benoit-Oliver Groulx, Jared McIsaac which will be formally announced after the World Juniors, Gabriel Fortier and solidified goaltending depth in Dakota Lund-Cornish.
That’s just outstanding work when you think about it.
Thibeau and the Cats Hockey Ops staff have done a phenomenal job executing their championship blueprint thus far.
However, as it stands right now do the Cats have any possible perceived weaknesses in their lineup?
The obvious answer to that question is no?
Nevertheless, there are a few possibilities that the Wildcats could consider.
Remember when the Wildcats were last in this position the Hockey Ops team in place at that point were given free reign to ensure the best possibility to win it all.
They made a lot of moves in 2009-2010 to solidify that amazing roster.
The Cats could elect to potentially compliment their forward group with some more size, grit, experience and scoring touch.
They could also elect to add some more depth to their backend.
Both those moves could be minor or complex given the range of players remaining on the trade market.
As of right now I truly believe the Cats are more than likely done on the backend.
With McIsaac coming in the big question remains pairings.
If I were a betting man, which I’m not, but let’s just say for the sake of argument you could possibly see the following pairings moving forward.
Stewart De Jong
Is that enough?
Is that a President Cup and Memorial Cup winning backend?
As mentioned earlier I can’t see them actively looking to modify that group, but you never know what other moves they maybe considering.
Given the success that Stewart, De Jong and 20 year old Christian Huntley are having this season one would consider they are done in that area.
What about injury? Who would they rely on?
As of right now, Sam Dow would remain as the seventh defencemen in that scheme.
If the Cats do target another defencemen who would it be and what would that do to your lineup and pairings?
Well if they target another high end left shooting d man that would obviously move Stewart down the lineup.
Again I couldn’t see that happening given their limited assets remaining.
If a trade were to happen it would have to be very creative and include a lot of pieces going the other way.
That’s another reason why I’m convinced the Cats are content when it comes to their backend.
But you never know.
What about up front?
Well the Cats are rumoured to be in on Liam Leonard. Who else could they target?
Well what 19 year old forwards are available out there that will bring scoring touch, grit, experience and character to your lineup?
For the most part they have all been snatched up or have they?
I’m not going to mention any names, and I’ll leave the research up to you, but there are some players out there that certainly fit the bill, if the Cats were to get creative and pull something off, it could prove to be very beneficial.
You can’t really have enough of those type of players on your roster.
Come playoff time secondary scoring, energy and grit are as valuable as solid goaltending.
You can’t win without both of them really.
Just ask the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
The Huskies epitomized the importance of secondary scoring and character a season ago on their march to greatness.
There’s no doubt the Moncton Wildcats have made all the right moves so far, but it’s the moves that they will make or choose not to make that could be the difference moving forward.
What about next year?
You might be looking ahead to next year saying how bad are the Wildcats going to be?
Don’t worry the Wildcats will hit two homeruns with their imports, they already have their 20 yr old tendy in Lund Cornish and they will add key free agents like they always have.
You can rest assure the Cats will be respectable and competitive.
The Cats will also be forced to give some young up and comers an opportunity to play, which isn’t all bad if you think about it.
That’s the name of the game these days draft and develop.
Sure the next few years are going to be trying, but let’s face it, isn’t it worth it for what potentially lies ahead?
Are the Moncton Wildcats finished?
I haven’t got the slightest, all I know is they have one hell of a team on paper right now and if they elect to continue to tweak it, the Cats are only going to get that much better!