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TRADE DEADLINE RECAP | Jr. Senators make 5 deals to bolster roster


Ottawa, Ontario – The Ottawa Jr. Senators were busy making five trades at the Trade Deadline on Friday. The Jr. Senators are 22-18-2 on the season and sit in 5th place in the CCHL standings.

The first trade came in at around 12pm in the afternoon. OJS dealt ’00 Forward Brent Broaders to the Smiths Falls Bears in exchange for ’99 Defenseman Wyatt Villalta.

Broaders, 19, played for two seasons between 2017-2019 with the Yarmouth Mariners in the MHL and won a championship with them last season. He also faced the Ottawa Jr. Senators in the Fred Page Cup and scored a goal. The Tilting, Newfoundland native was dealt to the Jr. Sens in exchange for a PDF in the off-season. This season, he has 8 goals, 9 assists, and 17 points in 37 games.

Villalta, 20, won a AJHL championship with the AJHL Brooks Bandits and also a National Jr. A Championship back in May. Four years ago, Villalta played with the Westport Rideaus in the CCHL2, then ended up in the NOJHL and the OJHL. The Kingston, Ontario native has appeared in 31 games with two goals and five assists. His twin-brother Matthew is a 3rd round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings and currently plays in the AHL for the Ontario Reign.

“Brent Broaders is not a player that we wanted to move, but it was the price to pay to get Wyatt Villalta. We wanted to add toughness and experience on the back end, and we did just that by acquiring him. We lost a good offensive player in Broaders, but we feel our new acquisitions up front will fill the void,” said Ottawa Jr. Senators Head Coach Martin Dagenais on the deal.

The second trade of the afternoon was the dealing of ’02 Forward Zachary Gravel, ’02 Forward Will Fitzsimmons and ’03 Forward Chris Egener to the Nepean Raiders in exchange for ’01 Forward Joshua Shimizu.

Gravel, 17, is in his first season of junior hockey after playing with the Trois-Rivieres Estacades in the QMAAA last season. During his time with Ottawa, he has netted eight goals and nine assists in 39 games. The Saint-Samuel, Quebec native is a prospect in the QMJHL with the Gatineau Olympiques.

Fitzsimmons, 17, played in four call up games with the Jr. Sens and is with the Ottawa Jr. Canadians in CCHL2 after playing with the U18 Ottawa Jr. Senators last season. He has 8 goals, 16 assists, and 24 points in 28 games with the Canadians this season.

Egener, 16, played with the U18 Ottawa Jr. Senators before being called up and acquired by the Casselman Vikings in CCHL Tier 2. He appeared in 24 games with U18 OJS and had 7 goals, 13 assists, and 20 points in 24 games. The Ottawa, Ontario native has played two games with the Jr. Senators in CCHL Tier 1, four games with OJC in CCHL2 and has played in seven games with Casselman.

Shimizu, 18, has been with the Raiders since being drafted in the 2016 Bantam Protected Draft. Last season, he scored 14 goals and 15 assists. He has not seen action since November 22nd against Smiths Falls. The Ottawa, Ontario native has 13 goals and three assists in 22 games during his second season with the Raiders. He will be turning 19 on January 14th. Shimizu should be in the lineup next week according to Head Coach Martin Dagenais.

“He’s only 5’6 but he plays like a six-footer and you win with guys like that. Even if the plan was to get bigger at the deadline, we couldn’t pass on getting a player of his caliber. He should be in the lineup next week, and hopefully, he brings his shoot-first mentality with him.”

The third trade saw Ottawa trade ’03 Defenseman Ranvir Gill-Shane, PDF and Future Considerations to the Kanata Lasers in exchange for ’01 Forward Curtis Fabbro and ’02 Forward Julien Recine.

Gill-Shane, 16, is in his first season in the CCHL after spending last season with U18 Jr. Senators. He was drafted by the Ottawa 67s in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection Draft and has played six games with the OHL club. The Kanata, Ontario native played 36 games with the Jr. Sens and collected six goals and 13 assists.

Recine, 17, is tied for rookie scoring with 33 points. The Stittsville, Ontario native has 15 goals and 18 assists in 39 games during his first year with the Kanata Lasers. Last year, he spent time with Lake Forest Academy at prep school. During his time there, he appeared in 62 games by scoring 23 goals and adding 42 assists. He is also played with the Kanata Laser Midget AAA team a couple of years ago before going to Lake Forest Academy.

“I think Recine brings a lot of skill to the table. He has a great vision. He’s a good playmaker but isn’t afraid to shoot the puck either. He’s only 17, so yes, he’ll help us this season, but for us, it’s a great move for the future,” said Dagenais

Fabbro, 18, has been traded for the third time of his CCHL career. Before playing in the CCHL, he spent his Midget AAA season with the Jr. Senators. He spent three seasons with the Navan Grads from 2017-2020 and it’s his third team that he’ll be playing for. Fabbro has scored nine goals and 20 assists between Navan and Kanata this season.

“Fabbro gives up more size up front. He can also play in any situation. That was the key for us. He was part of our organization a few years ago, so he knows what the expectations will be. He’s a good kid and hard worker, and he’ll be with us for another two years, so it’s great to have him back,” said Dagenais.

The fourth trade witnessed ’00 Mike Mercurio dealt to the Rockland Nationals in exchange for a PDF.

Mercurio, 19, was acquired in a deal from the NAHL Jamestown Rebels in exchange for a PDF earlier on this season. He collected only five assists during his 13 games with the Ottawa Jr. Senators. Dagenais says that he will fit well with Rockland.

“We just didn’t have any cards left to keep him on our 23 man roster so a trade had to be made. He’s a good player, and we sent him to a very good team. He competes hard so I’m sure he’ll help Rockland in their playoff run,” said Dagenais.

The final trade happened before the game Friday, was acquiring ’99 Forward Christophe Côté from the Cornwall Colts in exchange for the rights of ’00 Forward Matthew Toporowski, PDF and Future Considerations.

Côté, 20, has spent the first two CCHL seasons with the Brockville Braves until being traded in the off-season to Cornwall for this season. He has 26 points in 33 games with Colts prior to the trade. The Repentigny, Quebec native was with the CCHL All-Star team two weeks ago in Lowell, Massachusetts where he got the opportunity to play against the Umass-Lowell Riverhawks.

“I have been a Côté fan since we faced him in the playoffs last season. I thought he and Nadeau, who both were traded to Cornwall in the off-season, were Brockville’s best players in our semi-final matchup. He’s a pain to play against; he doesn’t shut up on the ice, and his work ethic is out of this world. You win playoff games with guys like him, and that’s why he was brought in,” said Dagenais.

Next game for the Ottawa Jr. Senators will be on Wednesday, January 15th against the Nepean Raiders live from the Steve Yzerman Arena.