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Ramblers ready for MHL draft

Jeff LeBlanc, Ramblers coach and general manager, talked about the past, present and future of the Ramblers team during their annual general meeting Wednesday night at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Joining him at the front of the room to answer questions were: (from left) Gary Brown, Ramblers president; and assistant coaches Colin Circelli and Pat Leger.
Jeff LeBlanc, Ramblers coach and general manager, talked about the past, present and future of the Ramblers team during the club's recent annual general meeting. The Ramblers management team is in Berwick on Saturday for the MHL draft. - Dave Mathieson

AMHERST – While the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers don’t have a pick until the third round, and only eight picks overall, coach and general manager Jeff LeBlanc remains confident he will still be able to get some quality players at Saturday’s Maritime Junior Hockey League draft in Berwick.

“We only have eight picks, but we’re going to try to add a few. Still it’s not a top priority this year. We’d like to add a few, even if they’re in the later rounds,” LeBlanc said. “It’s a bit different this year in that first-year midgets will be available in all the rounds, not just the first three like previous years.”

The Ramblers head into this weekend’s draft knowing it has to add some players in preparation for the 2019 Fred Page Cup in Amherst next May. While several key contributors with last year’s club have moved on, including leading scorer Jordan King and Brady Griffin-Hefford and defencemen Jake Barter and Lucas Sangster, LeBlanc said he has a solid nucleus returning – especially on the blueline.

LeBlanc confirmed he is working on several deals both inside and outside the MHL and should be in a position to announce a couple of deals at the draft and in the weeks following. He would not comment on who is coming to Amherst, but said they would add quality to the lineup.

As he prepares for the draft, LeBlanc said he would like to add a quality forward who can step in and play right away.

“We have a couple of players that we’re targeting but they could get picked before we get to them,” he said. “You just try to pick the best player that’s available.”

LeBlanc said it’s unfair to say the cupboards are bare following last season and the low number of draft picks compared to other years. He said the club has a strong pool of prospects that potentially could be in the lineup in the fall.

That list includes Brandon Stone, Thomas Ashe, Alex Wynter and Tim Noble from St. John’s, who played prep school last year.

“We have six forwards and five defenceman that are eligible to come back,” LeBlanc said. “We’re in pretty good shape.”

darrell.cole@amherstnews.ca

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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