Competition Will Be Fierce on the Wildcats Blueline
How do you rebuild a team as quickly as possible?
How do you build a championship contender?
Some would say it all starts between the pipes, others would claim it starts through the middle.
A matter their both right, but you aren’t going to win without a strong defensive corps.
You see it all starts on the backend and the future is very bright for the Moncton Wildcats in that department.
The Cats have drafted and developed very well over the last few seasons since drafting Jaxon Bellamy in 2017.
They haven’t rushed their defensive prospects and they certainly haven’t set them up for failure.
You see when you have a sixteen year old kid on the backend you have to insulate them.
You have to work with them to ensure they are on the correct developmental trajectory and they play with confidence.
Bellamy performed solidly, but there was definitely some added pressure on everyone involved due to the monumental rebuild the club had undertaken.
Unfortunately Bellamy was moved during the Christmas Trade Period in his rookie season.
A lot has changed since that time and as of right the Cats future looks very bright on the backend.
Depth and Tough Decisions
Defensive depth is critical, it’s everything when you are confronted with a rebuild.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this years Kent Homes Wildcats Training Camp will be the fierce competition on the Cats backend.
Ritchie Thibeau will be confronted with a lot of difficult decisions leading up to the season opener in October.
Obviously the Cats will have three solid veterans in Sean Stewart, Tristan De Jong and Jordan Spence to help lead the way, but that’s where things get very interesting.
Who will fill the three remaining spots and who will be seven and eight for the rebuilding Cats?
There’s a strong sense that Nicolas Pavan will secure one of the open spots given his progression and solid play a season ago in his first taste of QMJHL hockey.
Sam Dow has QMJHL experience and looked solid in a two game call up near the end of last season.
Jeremy Berube wasn’t able to crack the Cats roster the last two seasons, but looks potentially poised to do so this season.
Charles Antoine Pilote impressed during last years camp and has all the makings of a big shut down two-way defenceman while Jonathan Desrosiers stepped in last year and played well in spirts at only sixteen.
Francesco Iasenza, Thomas Darcy and Connor Olson add an entirely different element to the Wildcats competitive framework during this training camp and undoubtedly push hard for vacant roster spots.
One would be very wise to keep an eye Olson as well.
Obviously the absence of 2020 second rounder Ryan Hopkins was a bit of a surprise on Monday when the team finally released their Training Camp roster.
Hopkins would certainly be in the running to lock up the fifth or sixth spot.
What about the versatile Issac Wilson?
Could he possibly slide back into the Cats defensive prospects depth vying for a spot as well?
Wilson played great during his call ups a season ago as well.
There’s no question the competition on the Wildcats backend will be fierce and very intriguing.
So the question remains how do you build a championship contender?
How do you speed up a rebuild?
That’s easy, it all starts on the backend, it all starts with defensive depth, skill, speed and puck moving ability and it would appear that the Moncton Wildcats are well on their way.