By: Daniel Vazzoler
The Jan. 10 trade deadline came and went with just a handful of trades in the CCHL, and the Carleton Place Canadians made two trades before the midnight deadline.
In two separate trades, the Canadians saw one defenceman leave and another one come in. Carleton Place dealt Adam Pilotte to the Yarmouth Mariners of the Maritime Hockey League before acquiring Noah Tooke, a 19-year-old, from the Whitecourt Wolverines of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
“Noah comes with experience, he played a major top-four role for Whitecourt last year and they made it to the league finals versus the Brooks Bandits,” Canadians coach and general manager Jason Clarke said. “He comes with a lot of playoff experience and he’s just a very good, all-around, 5-on-5 defenceman with a lot of offensive upside. He can help our power play and be a contributor to our team.”
Dealing Pilotte, Clarke said, was not an easy thing to do for the Canadians.
“Hockey is a fun sport but, at times, it’s a crappy business and that was a tough thing to do. In our rink, we needed to have guys play on their strong side and the only reason why we had to make a move was because we didn’t like any of our guys playing their off-sides, if at all possible.
“It was a move we have been thinking about for a while as an organization, but it wasn’t an easy decision because Adam Pilotte is a great kid, is a very good hockey player and was a very well-liked team-mate in the room,” Clarke continued. “It was a very, very tough decision but sometimes that the crappy thing about the business.”
Deadline day had been active in the past with teams looking to acquire the missing piece for a championship run, or to provide the pieces and getting assets for the future in return.
This year’s deadline saw a total of eight trades made throughout the CCHL, and not a single deal was made between teams in the CCHL – all trades were made with teams in other Jr. A leagues across Canada. By comparison, there were 17 trades on the deadline last season, with seven of the trades being within the CCHL.
The first half of the 2017-18 deadline had the activity level of a VCR machine in 2017 – none. As the deadline neared, the trades started to come down the wire but never neared the levels of seasons past.
Clarke said, prior to the deadline, he wasn’t surprised by the lack of movement. He said teams did a lot of their work well before the deadline – Canadians included.
“We wanted to make as few changes as possible and we’ve made one change since Dec. 1 and that was adding Tooke. It’s going to be up to the 23 guys now to continue to come together and just try to get better every day. I think that’s really important and it’s a good thing to keep the room and the closeness of the players as tight-knit as possible. Not making any moves, other than the one at the deadline, is a positive thing for our hockey team.”
The Canadians now know for sure who will be on the team for the final 18 games of the regular season and the playoff run. The team plays next on Friday against the Hawkesbury Hawks as the Hawks return to Hawkesbury after their arena was being renovated at the start of the season.