Braves re­vamp roster and they’re not done yet

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - SPORTS - JONATHON BRODIE

You need some­thing like a po­lice crime board to make sense of all the move­ments on the Brockville Braves roster over the last month. You need to have pho­tos pinned up all over the place with lines of red string bounc­ing from one head shot to the next to con­nect each of them and show who has been moved and why.

There’s Sam Al­li­son who was brought to Brockville from the Ne­pean Raiders to re­place the skill of Philippe Gil­mour and is a year younger. Gil­mour was moved in a dif­fer­ent deal that sent him to the Corn­wall Colts in ex­change for for­ward Justin McRae to add some grit to the team. Ni­cholas Wild­goose was shipped in and then shipped out a week later in or­der to make room for Mathieu Halle, who hasn’t played since mid- Oc­to­ber be­cause of a shoul­der in­jury and was orig­i­nally told he would miss the rest of the sea­son, but started prac­tic­ing this week with the Braves and is ex­pected to play in the com­ing weeks when he’s com­fort­able.

Fin­ger­prints of the moves are all over the Braves lineup. Al­li­son is a top line player, while some­one like Christophe Cote – who played last year with Brockville and started the sea­son in the NCDC be­fore re­join­ing the Braves on Nov. 16 – looks to be a role player on the depth chart. McRae seems to fit any­where they need him.

Brockville has 16 dif­fer­ent moves listed on the CCHL trans­ac­tion page since the begin­ning of Novem­ber and it’s ac­tu­ally miss­ing a few things on there.

The over­all mo­tive for bring­ing in all the new play­ers is to add an older vet­eran pres­ence to the team. The roster, said Braves gen­eral man­ager Dustin Traylen, is be­ing built to make a play­off run and added age is ex­pected to help that.

The Braves were ic­ing one of the youngest teams in the league when they started the sea­son and now they have one of the old­est. In their first game of the sea­son they had just six play­ers born in ei­ther 1998 or 1999. In their last game they had 11 in their lineup.

Some eye­brows were raised when Traylen started chang­ing his roster af­ter the Braves ral­lied off 14 straight wins be­tween Sept. 3 and Oct. 26, but it was that hot streak that helped in­flu­ence the gen­eral man­ager to make the al­ter­ations. It opened his eyes to the po­ten­tial his team has to chal­lenge the best clubs in the league.

“Peo­ple can ques­tion why would we change things up, but the re­al­ity is you have to be a lit­tle bit older and grit­tier to win in this league in the play­offs, es­pe­cially in arena’s like Car­leton Place and/or Ot­tawa,” said Traylen. “You have to have skaters, but you also have to have guys that are tough enough to bang with the big boys.”

The bulk of the changes that took place in the sec­ond half of Novem­ber seem to be stick­ing. Play­ers like Wild­goose, Curtis Ab­bott, and Spencer Cosway – all ar­rived in early Novem­ber – are with other teams. Pieces like Al­li­son, Cote, and de­fence­man Chace McCar­dle, who played his first Braves game last Fri­day, ap­pear to be mak­ing an im­pact on the team and gen­eral man­ager.

Traylen, how­ever, isn’t done yet and he plans to make more moves be­fore the CCHL trade dead­line comes early in the new year.

“I will con­tinue to im­prove my team un­til I can’t,” said Traylen. “Un­til they tell me I’m not al­lowed to.”

JONATHON BRODIE/The

(Left to right) Justin McRae, John Michael DiGre­go­rio, Christophe Cote, Chace McCar­dle, and Sam Al­li­son are play­ers that were in the Brockville Braves lineup last Sun­day and were all added to the team’s roster within the last three weeks.

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