Trade to Mooseheads means Jordan Maher in line to play in Memorial Cup again
CHL champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan deal Gander native to Halifax, where he would play as an overager
Less than 24 hours after hoisting the Memorial Cup as a major junior hockey champion, Newfoundlander Jordan Maher found out he’ll almost certainly will get a chance to do so again.
May 28, Stephane Leroux of RDS reported Maher, a 20-year-old from Gander, is being traded from the Memorial Cup champion AcadieBathurst Titan to the Halifax Mooseheads, along with fellow forward Antoine Morand.
Halifax is sending draft picks to the Titan in the deal, designed to bolster the Mooseheads’ lineup as they prepare to host the 2019 Memorial Cup.
Maher has spent his entire four-year Quebec Major Junior Hockey League career with Bathurst, which made him a first-round draft pick in 2014. In 255 regular-season QMJHL games, the Central Ice Pak midget product. has 66 goals and 107 assists for 173 points and has gained the reputation as an effective two-way forward; he had a plus-36 rating to go along 19 goals and 42 assists this season.
Maher added 10 points (2G, 8A) in 20 QMJHL playoff games and had an assist and an even plus-minus rating in the Titan’s four game at the Memorial Cup tournament in Regina, where he was used mostly in a checking role.
Maher could turn pro this fall or embark on a Canadian collegiate career, but there was always the thinking he was a prime candidate to return to the ‘Q’ as an overage player — each club is permitted to carry three players who are 20 at the start of the season.
The Mooseheads obviously saw him as an ideal overager, too.
Maher now begins the third Newfoundlander on the Halifax roster, joining forwards Joel Bishop of St. John’s and Kyle Petten of Bay Roberts.
There could be a fourth as the Mooseheads are known to be wooing centre Alex Newhook of St. John’s, who played in the British Columbia Hockey League this past season, was named the top rookie in the Canadian junior A ranks and is seen as a top prospect for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
The 17-year-old Newhook has committed to attend Boston College, but that wouldn’t be until 2019 at the earliest. He could change his mind and join the Mooseheads, who took a gamble and made him a third-round pick in the QMJHL draft last June.
For the Titan, Monday’s trade with Halifax represents the start of what should be a major rebuild.
Bathurst made many trades before and during the season in an effort to strengthen its lineup, including the acquisition of goaltender and St. John’s native Evan Fitzpatrick in January. But while all the wheeling and dealing certainly worked out, the Titan will have a lot of holes to fill this fall.
The 20-year-old Fitzpatrick, who pitched a 28-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the host Regina Pats in Sunday’s Memorial Cup final, is set to turn pro with the St. Louis Blues, who made him a second-round draft pick in 2016 and signed him to an entry-level deal last year.
Another St. John’s native, rearguard Adam Holwell, who scored the game-winning goal Sunday, is one of three overagers definitely graduating from Bathurst — captain Jeffery Truchon-Viel and QMJHL top defenceman Olivier Galipeau (another mid-season trade acquisition) are the others. And Philadelphia Flyers first-round draft pick German Rubstov and Memorial Cup scoring hero Samuel Asselin, two other players picked up in trades during the season, are eligible to turn pro like Fitzpatrick.
But that creates opening for players like defenceman Zack Bennett of Bay Roberts, who was little-used by the Titan after being acquired in yet another in-season trade. The 17-year-old Bennett (he turns 18 in five weeks), only played in nine games as a QMJHL rookie in 2017-18 (seven with Drummondville, two with Acadie-Bathurst), but is likely to much, much busier with the Titan in 2017-18. And even though Bennett didn’t play in the post-season, he was part of the Bathurst roster throughout, travelled to Regina for the Memorial Cup and will be officially listed as a member of the 2017-18 Canadian Hockey League champions.
Clarenville native Liam Leonard won’t. The 18-yearold forward did skate in one game for Acadie-Bathurst in early January, but spent the rest of the season in the Maritime Hockey League and wasn’t with the Titan in the playoffs or Memorial Cup. However, Leonard, who did win a MHL championship this season with the Edmundston Blizzard, is another who is line for much more QMJHL playing time in Bathurst next season.
Jordan Maher (left), is shown in action for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan against the Swift Current Broncos during the Memorial Cup in Regina. The day after the Titan won the Memorial Cup, word emerged that they were trading Maher, who would be an overage junior next season, to the Halifax Mooseheads. Halifax is hosting the 2019 Memorial Cup