We can learn a lot from championship teams and organizations by the moves they make during the QMJHL Trade Period.
Follow the plan to the letter, a targeted approach, calculated risk or full out desperation. It takes all kinds to have a load and go mentality and it’s no fluke that the teams with championship DNA mostly are home grown or have they?
Actually come to think about it, many teams that have hoisted the President Cup or the Memorial Cup in years gone by have been built at the trade period. Now don’t get me wrong the plans or methodology happens years in advance and that’s what makes it so special when the plan comes together.
It’s a roll of the dice, you never know what’s going to happen.
Case in point last season it looked like Val d’Or would be unbeatable, we all know how that ended.
When the Acadia-Bathurst Titan went on to capture junior hockey supremacy, they made several trades, when the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies won their championships they made two significant deals that put them over the top.
Obviously, this season the Quebec Remparts, Charlottetown Islanders Saint John Sea Dogs, and Acdie-Bathurst Titan look poised to make significant runs at the championship glory. The Sea Dogs have automatically punched their ticket to the dance, but it’s still really interesting to see what areas these teams have addressed so far.
You see there’s no guarantees in any of this. The load and go mentality can bite you especially if your foundation isn’t strong.
Foundation in the truest sense of the word. Clearly it all starts in the draft. It all starts with the rebuild. The Sea Dogs have been planning for this for years and yet there’s buzz out there that they are looking to still upgrade in certain positions.
Oh the fact that they have four 20’s at this point of the season and path to the hosting the Memorial Cup is quite concerning and yet really no one is talking about that.
The Charlottetown Islanders have been extremely calculated so far during this trade period and have addressed what they feel are organizational needs heading into the what they hope to be a long run.
Hulton and the Islanders have built through the draft, but trades they made several years ago are paying dividends.
The two year approach which Trevor Georgie talked about extensively in the media fell short after bringing in Greg Gilbert and subsequently letting him go after the season. Gordie Dwyer inherited a team full of talent but still had some holes to fill.
On the other hand Hulton and his staff had every opportunity to potentially win and go back to back, but they also fell short losing to Victo.
Enter Patrick Roy and the Remparts.
Clearly they to have been planning for this for quite sometime, and have been taking an aggressive approach. They to have some holes to fill which will be addressed very soon no doubt. You just know that Roy and his staff will do all that it takes to ice a potential champion.
So where do the Acdie-Bathurst Titan fit in the grand scheme of things? Well let’s just put it this way, they are far from over when it comes to loading up.
Their moves have been extremely calculated and have targeted key pieces to the puzzle.
You know damn well the Titan will continue to aim at landing the circuits elite. They have enough home grown assets to wheel and deal.
The one common denominator of every team trying to load and go is the search for the intangibles and depth. Obviously, any organization and hockey mind in charge can target t he best players available, it’s the team that know their room and group the best and add accordingly will have the most success at the end of the day.
It’s the player or new acquisition that can fit in and excel while providing the most intangibles and character who usually have the largest impact.
Sure it takes luck, but this is where every organization in a position to load and go understand the risks and rewards of educated and experienced hockey decisions.
The organization that knows their group the best and add accordingly filling all of the holes or perceived weaknesses usually end up on top!
The search for championship intangibles continues!
Who will win? Who knows their group the best? I guess we will have to wait and see!
PS Be on the lookout for sleeper teams like the Gatineau Olympiques who have a great coach and who have built a potential contender at a quicker than expected pace!