Prior to Wednesday’s junior-hockey trade deadline, Surrey Eagles general manager Blaine Neufeld said his team would be a ‘buyer’ in an attempt to bolster the BC Hockey League team down the stretch and into the playoffs.
He wasn’t kidding.
Prior to the trade cutoff, Neufeld and his staff picked up three veteran players – a goaltender, a defenceman and a forward – two of whom come with extensive major-junior hockey experience.
First, the Eagles signed 20-year-old forward Dryden Michaud, a New Westminster native who has spent the last two seasons playing in the Western Hockey League, but was a recent cut of the Saskatoon Blades. The Eagles also acquired, through a future-considerations deal with the Coquitlam Express, the playing rights to former WHL blue-liner Ty Schultz, who hasn’t played this season due to injury.
And to cap the flurry of transactions was what is likely considered the team’s biggest deal – trading forward Dominic Dumas and future considerations to the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Georgetown Raiders in exchange for 20-year-old goaltender Mario Cavaliere, whom Neufeld called that league’s top netminder.
“He’s a premier goaltender,” the GM said. “He has incredible numbers in the OJHL.”
To make room on the roster for the new goalkeeper, the Eagles released former Valley West Hawk goalie Nic Tallarico, who himself was a midseason acquisition by the Birds after having been released by Salmon Arm.
“It’s too bad (we had to release him), but that’s just the nature of the beast,” Neufeld said of the roster decision.
Michaud is already with the team, and Cavaliere was expected to arrive from Ontario by Thursday afternoon. Schultz, who has been skating locally while rehabbing an injury, is at least a week away from returning to game action, Neufeld said.
The Eagles play tonight (Friday) at South Surrey Arena against the Langley Rivermen.