TRURO, N.S. – The Truro Bearcats will have plenty of opportunity to restock the shelves at this weekend’s Maritime Junior Hockey League midget draft.
The Bearcats have 10 picks in the eight-round draft, which is being hosted by the Valley Wildcats and gets underway on Saturday afternoon in Berwick.
Truro graduated eight players at the completion of the 2017-18 season, including four defenceman, and bolstering the back end will be priority on Saturday.
“We need help in all areas, but the main need is obvious; the obvious need is on the blueline, that’s pretty simple for us,” said Bearcats coach and GM Shawn Evans.”
The Bearcats – who own the seventh-overall selection – have draft picks in all rounds except for the second round. They traded that selection to the Miramichi Timberwolves last spring for Campbell Pickard.
Truro will receive an extra pick at the end of the third round as compensation for making only one territorial selection this week. On Monday, the team announced Weeks Major Midgets forward Ben Fraser as its lone territorial pick. Teams were permitted to select two players.
The Bearcats have three picks in the fifth round. Aside from their own, they also have selections from St. Stephen and Woodstock from trades involving Elliott MacIsaac and Sam Jeffrey, respectively.
Evans and his staff paid close attention to the Quebec major junior league draft last weekend, which will help in the decision-making process on Saturday.
“Now that the Q draft is over you can try and sift through a little bit of that … it also affects our league selections, what that league does,” he said.
Evans said his team also has a couple of goaltenders on its draft list.
“We’re getting to that point where it’s still early, but trying to size that up, that’s all I can tell ya,” he said.
Kevin Resop, last year’s starting goaltender for the Bearcats, has graduated. Alec MacDonald is eligible to return, however, the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL own his major junior playing rights. MacDonald appeared in four games with the Wildcats last season.
It’s also worth noting that 20-year-old Q-league goaltender Mark Grametbauer will play his final junior season in 2018-19. The Bearcats hold his junior A playing rights.