Ramblers active at MJAHL draft
AMHERST - Corey Crocker did some shopping on the Father's Day weekend.
The Ramblers head coach and general manager was a busy man at the Maritime Junior A Hockey League's entry draft Saturday at the Stadium, swinging a pair of deals while making 11 selections at the 12-round draft.
"We addressed some issues," Crocker said. "We got what we felt we needed through the trades, and we drafted players we felt we could step in and play in our lineup."
The Ramblers scored a pair of forwards in two deals, acquiring Simon Bissonnette from the Halifax Lions and Scott Bragg from the Woodstock Slammers. Bissonnette, who had 15 goals, 23 points and 105 penalty minutes in 44 games last season and dressed for two games for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Lewiston Maineiacs, and a 10th-round pick in 2010 were packaged for defenceman Shane Robar and future considerations.
Robar requested the trade a week before the draft, since he will be going to school in Halifax come September.
"Shane's a good kid and gave us two solid years, and I didn't want to see him get screwed out of a year of hockey," Crocker said. "Bissonnette was at our training camp two years ago, so we know him very well. He's a big kid - six-foot-three, 220 pounds - and our fans are going to love him."
Bragg, a fifth-rounder in 2010 and cash were obtained from the Slammers for the rights to forward Lucas McKinley, who spent the past three seasons with the QMJHL's P.E.I. Rocket and will be going to school in Fredericton in the fall. The five-foot-nine, 165-pound Bragg, a St. John's, N.L., native, is not shy about getting his nose dirty, either, with 154 penalty minutes in 43 games to go along with four goals and six assists in 2008-09.
"He showed a lot of grit against us all last year," Crocker said. "He's an energy player, which is something we'll need, especially in other rinks in our division."
Amherst had the sixth overall pick, and opted for another St. John's prospect, defenceman Dylan Brake. The six-foot-two, 183-pound blueliner was a seventh-round selection of the QMJHL's Saint John Sea Dogs two weeks ago.
"We watched him closely at the Atlantic championship, and we really liked his size, plus he moves the puck really well," Crocker said. "We wish him all the best in camp in Saint John, and hopefully we'll get to see him in a Rambler uniform."
The Ramblers also addressed goaltending depth, picking up Julian Daigle from the Miramichi Rivermen in Round 5, Devon Cudmore of the Cornwall Thunder in Round 7 and Spencer Scott from the Cole Harbour McCain in Round 10.
With Andrew Flemming gone and projected No. 1 Jonathan Waye attending the Rocket's camp, the competition for the starting job could be wide open. Andrew Caines, Amherst's seventh-round pick a year ago, is also expected in training camp. Caines and Brake were teammates last season.
"We don't expect them all to be in camp, so maybe we could use one or two as trade bait," Crocker said.
The Ramblers only used one territorial pick, nabbing Amherst resident Jesse Colborne from the Pictou County major midgets prior to the draft, and were given an extra pick between the third and fourth rounds. They used it to select forward Michael Clarke from the Cole Harbour McCain major midgets.
NOTEBOOK - Cornwall defenceman Zach Evans-Renaud was taken first overall by the Campbellton Tigers, who were known as the Restigouche Tigers last season ... The Ramblers were named the league's organization of the year Saturday. Amherst also won the league's golf tournament Friday ... Truro's Shawn Evans won the coach-of-the-year award ... Zach Shannon, Amherst's eighth-round selection, is Lewiston property. Shannon's father, Roger, is the Maineiacs' general manager.
Ramblers picks (overall selection in parentheses)
• Round 1 (6) -- Dylan Brake, D, St. John's, N.L., major midget
• Round 2 (17) -- Mitch O'Neil, F, Appleby College (Ont.)
• Round 4 (44) -- Devon Muir, C, Cape Breton major midget
• Round 5 (50) -- Julian Daigle, G, Miramichi major midget
• Round 6 (60) -- Kendall Costello, D, Cornwall, P.E.I., major midget
• Round 7 (71) -- Devon Cudmore, G, Cornwall, P.E.I., major midget
• Round 8 (82) -- Zach Shannon, F, U.S. prep.
• Round 9 (93) -- Cody Estey, F, Leo Hayes HS (N.B.)
• Round 10 (104) -- Spencer Scott, G, Cole Harbour major midget
• Territorial Round 1 (6) -- Jesse Colborne, F, Pictou County major midget
• Territorial Round 2 (17) -- Michael Clarke, F, Cole Harbour major midget