The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers had a long wait during Saturday’s Maritime Junior Hockey League draft in Edmundston, N.B., but they weren’t quiet.
The Ramblers made seven selections at the draft, but made a quartet of trades that included acquiring forward Miguel Poirier from the Yarmouth Mariners and sending defenceman Thomas Ashe to Summerside and Aidan McFarland to the Miramichi Timberwolves to complete the trade that brought forward Matt Green to Amherst early last season.
The team did not make a selection until the fifth round, but still made seven picks – including territorials Jacob Melanson, who will likely play in the QMJHL next season with Quebec, and defenceman Matthew Hunter.
“When you host a Fred Page Cup, you’re not going to have the best draft picks the next year,” Ramblers GM Jeff LeBlanc said. “When your first pick is in the fifth round, it makes for a long day. Considering where we picked, and who was on our list, I thought we did pretty good.
“Some of the kids we had ranked higher were still there when it came time for us to pick.”
In the fifth round Amherst selected two players, forward Liam Walsh from the Halifax Macs and defenceman Simon Maltais that played in Newbridge.
Walsh had 38 points, including 14 goals, with the Halifax Major Midget Macs last season while Maltais had a goal in 19 games with Newbridge Academy.
The Ramblers used their sixth, seventh and eighth round picks to select forward Ben Williams from the Cole Harbour Wolfpack, Kody Groves from the Cape Breton Tradesman, and goalie Oliver Arnfast.
“We wanted to try and get a player in the draft that could step in and play next season. We feel Ben is one player that is ready for the next level now. We never thought he’d be there in the sixth round. We’re very happy to be adding Ben to our roster.” LeBlanc said
Williams, the younger brother of last year’s goalie Matt Williams, had 36 points in 32 games last season with the Wolfpack. Groves had 31 points in 35 games with the Tradesmen, while Arnfast had a 4.74 goals against average with the Pictou County Major Midgets.
In other deals, Amherst sent a seventh round pick in 2020 to the Grand Falls Rapids for defenceman Lucas Fabjancic while it sent a fifth rounder from Saturday’s draft to Yarmouth for Poirier.