AMHERST – Sometimes you have to give up quality to get quality.
The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers acquired centre Danny Harquail from the Woodstock Slammers late Wednesday in return for veteran defenceman Dylan Brake.
“It was a hard trade to make because Dylan has been such a key member of our club since he arrived here last year,” Ramblers’ coach Jim Bottomley said. “We’ve been looking for some help up front all season and Danny should give us more size and more offence.
“We had some needs and goals and unfortunately to do that we had to give up some quality. Dylan is a class act and I’m sad to see him go, but you have to do what’s best for the team.”
Harquail, a native of Toronto, has six goals and eight assists for 14 points in 16 games with the Slammers this season. At 6-feet, 215 pounds, Bottomley said he also brings lots of grit to the Ramblers lineup.
Another plus is he played midget hockey with Ben Berisha in Toronto and spent some time playing on a line with Jeff MacPherson earlier this season before MacPherson was dealt to Amherst.
Harquail had 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points in 48 games with the North York Rangers of the OJHL last season.
Brake had a goal and an assist in 19 games for the Ramblers.
Amherst also acquires the rights to Brayden Wood, an 18-year-old defenceman with the Moncton Wildcats, as well a third-round pick in next year’s draft. The Ramblers are sending a third-round selection in the 2014 draft.
Bottomley said the return of Kyle Beckwith from a hand injury and the recent addition of Cam McDonald made things crowded on the Ramblers’ blueline.
Harquail is expected to be in the lineup Friday when the Ramblers travel to Campbellton to face the Tigers.
Amherst is also on the road Saturday, travelling to Miramichi to face the Timberwolves – a club that has taken two games from the Ramblers.
“These are four big points. We have some games in hand on Pictou and those games mean nothing unless we win them,” Bottomley said. “We want to win both games. Both teams are improving, but if we play our game, keep our goals against down and score like we have been we’ll be OK.”
Amherst has taken all three games from the Tigers this season, including a 7-2 win in Campbellton on Oct. 12.
The Timberwolves, who are one of this season’s early surprises, sit in second place in the MHL’s Meek Division.
“They have a good young team and we can’t take them lightly,” Bottomley said. “
Bottomley is hoping to have Robert Davis in the lineup this weekend. Davis has been released to the team from the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL, but the paperwork has yet to clear the league.
Josh Pugsley may also play this weekend. Pugsley was injured in Saturday’s win against Bridgewater. He has been cleared to play.
“Pound for pound he’s tough. He certainly took a cheap shot, but he has bounced back. He has such a passion and dedication to the game,” Bottomley said. “He doesn’t want to sit out. We went through all the channels with the doctors. He is going to skate with us tonight (Thursday) and if he’s OK he will play.”