OTTAWA – As the calendar flipped to June, the CJHL roster freeze expired, allowing the Jr. Senators to make a flurry of moves ahead of the 2020-2021 season.
Head Coach and GM Martin Dagenais made the first domino fall on June 2nd, where the team acquired goaltender Tyler Laureault from the Nepean Raiders in return for goaltender Bryan Landsberger and U18 standout, and Ottawa 67’s prospect Costa Touliopoulos.
Laureault, 18, was the glue for a struggling Raiders squad this past season going 8-24-1, with a 4.05 GAA, and a .897 SV%. The Lasalle, Ontario native was spectacular against the Jr. Senators going 1-3, in five games with a 3.60 GAA and .918 SV%. In only one of Laureault’s 39 starts this season, he faced 30 shots of less.
Landsberger went 18-15-1, with a 2.36 GAA, and .917 SV% for the Jr. Senators since being acquired from the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings in October. The Montréal, Québéc native was the CCHL’s player of the week for week 9 and a finalist for the honour in week 21. He was also named CCHL goaltender of the month for the month of February, going 5-1-1 record with a 1.86 GAA and a .934 SV% as well as a shutout.
Dagenais was not finished that day as U18 defenceman Lukas Beaton was moved to the Renfrew Wolves to complete the January 10th trade of Ranvir Gill-Shane to Kanata in exchange for Curtis Fabbro and Julian Recine.
Finally, U18 forward Finnegan Kilmurray was moved to the Smiths Falls Bears to also complete a January 10th trade seeing the Jr. Senators acquire Wyatt Villalta and sending Brent Broaders to Smiths Falls.
Late Wednesday, the Jr. Senators strung another deal with the Renfrew Wolves, bringing in soon to be 20-year-old defenceman Lukash Matthews for forward Justin Palmer.
In 61 games last season with the Kanata Lasers, Matthews notched 7 goals and 24 assists for 31 points. Matthews will add some much-needed depth to the Jr. Senators blue line as the team is only returning two defencemen in Brendan Bays and Maxime Blanchard.
Dagenais continued making moves, as he then traded 20-year-old Forward Mackenzie White to the Rockland Nationals for a PDF. In 51 games this past year, White recorded five goals and 16 assists for 21 points.
Lastly, the Jr. Senators sent Chris Piché, Michael Eftimovski, and the rights to Matthew Roy to the Cornwall Colts to finalize the January 10th move that saw Christopher Côté arrive in Ottawa in exchange for Matthew Toporowski.
Piché, 19, heads into his final junior season after playing the last two years with OJS, which saw him tally eight goals, 23 assists, for 31 points in 91 CCHL games.
Eftimovski, 18, completed his first junior season coming out of the GTHL’s U18 league, scoring three goals, and adding 10 assists in 55 games.
Head Coach & GM Martin Dagenais and the rest of the OJS staff are now looking forward to the 2020-21 season. With 9 or 10 veterans expected back, the hockey team will be looking for third consecutive Bogart and Fred Page Cups.
“To have to call players and tell them that they’ve been traded is the worst part of the job, said Dagenais. There’s not one bad apple in that group of players. They’re all quality individuals and that’s what makes it even more difficult. However, we have no choice but to move on and prepare the best we can for the start of next season, whenever that may be.”
As Hockey Canada has lifted the ban on sanctioned activities, the Ottawa Jr. Senators, as well as the rest of the CCHL await the decision from HEO and local health officials for when hockey activities will return.